Lady Trojans basketball go down fighting in playoff loss to Madison


By Drew Terhall

COVINGTON — The Arcanum girls basketball fought until the very end, but had their season ended in the first round of the OHSAA Girls Basketball Division III Southwest sectional on Feb. 15 at Covington High School.

The eighth seed Lady Trojans lost 43-40 to ninth seed Middletown Madison. Arcanum defeated Madison in the regular season, 53-44, on the road.

Head coach Abbey Moore said she is proud of her team for mentally staying in the game and giving themselves a chance at the end to win after everything went against them during the game.

“We’re all a little disappointed. It’s hard to beat a team twice in a year. Madison is a good ball team. We came and threw the first punch. Proud of that energy we had,” Moore said. “We just got a little complacent and things started not going our way. Shots weren’t falling. We find ourselves in a spot we got to dig and dig and fight and fight.”

The game started as a shootout. It was tied 16-16 after Madison hit a buzzer beater to tie the game. Junior Brooke Anderson and sophomore Caroline Long both started out hot. Anderson had eight points and Long had six points after the first quarter.

Then the defenses started to settle in and the offenses started to struggle a little bit. Arcanum scored their first points of the second quarter at the 3:41 mark.

Madison had the lead, 24-21, at halftime. The Lady Mohawks were making enough hustle plays to have the lead over the Lady Trojans.

Both teams were physical coming out of halftime. The offenses couldn’t get any easy shots in the third quarter.

Once again, Arcanum scored their first points of the third quarter around the 3:40 mark. The Lady Trojans were getting some better looks as the game went on. They just couldn’t get any shots to fall.

“Sometimes you have those nights. It unfortunate that it had to happen tonight, where it was one and done,” Moore said. “Talking to these girls in the locker room, they’re going to be motivated. Our program is in a good spot.”

Madison was able to run off some clock here and there with long possessions. They handled the ball well and made good passes to keep the ball, and the clock, moving.

However, Arcanum benefited when the clock was starting to whined down. With 49.5 seconds left, it was a 40-32 game. Madison couldn’t put Arcanum away from the free throw line.

The press from the Lady Trojans slowly started to give the Lady Mohawks problems. The two shots Arcanum made were huge for them in the fourth quarter.

A steal and score from senior Ashlyn Miller gave Arcanum some confidence. Then freshman Matty Noe, in for Anderson after she fouled out, hit a three to make it a 40-35 game. Moore said the three by Noe gave them that extra edge to compete in the final seconds.

The press also got them turnovers on Arcanum’s offensive end. With Madison fighting for those balls and Arcanum being able to drive to the rim gave them chances at the free throw line.

In the fourth quarter, the team was 10 for 18 from the free throw line in the fourth quarter. Madison was 5 for 8 from the line in the fourth quarter.

It was 43-40 with seven seconds left. Arcanum just needed a quick turnover or to foul quick to prolong the game. But, Madison inbounded the ball and was able to run out the clock to advance in the tournament.

Long led the team with 18 points. Anderson finished the game with 10 points. Leading scorer junior Alexis Gibbons was held scoreless in the game.

Moore said there’s a lot that can be learned from this game. The team didn’t quit when faced with adversity, they have fought through tough situations all season long.

Moore said how they handle this will show how they will handle adversity in life. Once they took a step back from the fact the season is over, there’s a lot to learn and to miss.

Moore said she is appreciative of her two assistant coaches and friends Kip Gray and Stevie Zumbrun for everything they have done and sacrificed for the program. She is also appreciative of the Arcnaum administration for supporting them and letting her lead this program.

Not being able to have another game is tough. But not being able to spend time with people you worked with for months and care about is a tougher pill to swallow.

“We all care about each other. We weren’t ready for it to be over. Me especially because basketball practice everyday is my fun time. I’m going to miss it. Our three seniors, they all hold a special place in my heart. I’m going to miss them,” Moore said.

Miller, Rylee Leeper and Ava Gilbert are the three seniors that will move on after this season.

Arcanum ends their 2023-24 season with a 14-9 record and a 9-2 WOAC record.

Contact Daily Advocate sports editor Drew Terhall at [email protected]

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