ARCANUM – The Arcanum Lady Trojans unleashed a stifling man-to-man defense that allowed the Dixie Lady Greyhounds only eight first half points to secure a 60-21 victory Saturday evening.
“They came to play defense tonight,” Arcanum girls basketball coach Matt Grote said. “We challenged them to really get after it. We did the little things right. We could have closed out better, but we ran the shooter of the line and boxed out. We really finished possessions. That’s what we really have to do.”
Both teams struggled to get their offenses on track to start the game with each side failing to convert on some close-in opportunities in the opening moments. When Madison O’Daniel converted two free throws with 3:09 remaining in the period, it knotted the game at 2-2.
Arcanum has had difficulties at times this season getting off to good starts in games.
“We had a lot of good shots,” Coach Grote said. “We missed a bunch of easy shots that we should have converted. Whether its nerves coming out or what, we’re getting good shots. We’ve just got to finish them.”
The Lady Trojans began to find their shooting touch. The offense slowly came to life, but the Lady Greyhounds were not so fortunate. When McKinlee Ruppert connected for the lone Dixie three of the game with less than two minutes remaining, making the score 7-5 Arcanum, the Lady Greyhounds would not score again until 1:04 was left in the first half.
Arcanum simply did not allow Dixie to advance the ball past the free throw line and into the paint except for a very few times.
“One thing we’ve been working on is our help defense, really being able to jump to the ball and stopping penetration,” Coach Grote said. “We know teams have been running a play and really getting after it and been able to drive to the hole and do a good job with that, so now we’ve been helping out a lot. To give up eight points in a half, that’s pretty good, pretty good.”
After the Lady Trojans allowed that 3-point goal they went on a 19-0 run that carried over into the second quarter. Eight of those points were contributed by freshman Alexis Unger. When the halftime buzzer sounded Arcanum held a 26-8 lead.
The Lady Trojan defense was still unrelenting in the third quarter. Arcanum held Dixie to only three points while six players scored on offense, posting 17 for the period. Arcanum stretched its lead to 43-11.
The Lady Greyhounds found nearly as many points in the fourth period as the rest of the game by scoring 10, but the Lady Trojans added 17 more to reach the final score of 60-21.
Arcanum’s offense was truly a team effort. The Lady Trojans were 18 of 34 from the floor and 6 of 11 behind the arc. Led by Stevie Johnting’s 15 and Alexis Abner’s 11, the entire squad made the scorebook. The Trojans also received a great 25 point boost from the bench players.
The victory advances the Lady Trojans’ record to 8-6 overall and 5-2 in the Cross County Conference. Dixie, from the Southwestern Buckeye League falls to 4-9, 1-5 in league play.
The Arcanum junior varsity, now 8-5, defeated Dixie 35-12.
Dixie – 21
Betts 11, Wylie 2, Ruppert 6, Harlow 2.
Arcanum – 60
Ross 2, Siculan 3, Abner 11, Johnting 15, Unger 8, Sharritts 9, Hartman 2, Kinney 3, O’Daniel 4, Deao 3.
3-pointers: Dix: 1 (Ruppert); Arc: 6 (Sharritts 3, Unger 2, Siculan).
Free throws: Dix: 8-10; Arc: 6-13.