ARCANUM – Both teams’ coaches left feeling proud of their squad’s effort following Thursday’s girls basketball game between Arcanum and Mississinawa Valley, which the Trojans won 57-27.
“We came out and gave a great effort tonight, especially coming out of halftime,” Arcanum coach Matt Grote said. “They really responded to kind of a slow start and picked it up on defense. They really worked hard and got the job done.”
Even though his team lost, Mississinawa Valley coach John Hershey was pleased with the Blackhawks’ effort, especially considering several players have been dealing with illness.
“I’ve got two that came to school today with over a hundred temperature because they didn’t want to miss playing ball tonight,” Hershey said. “The effort was absolutely phenomenal again. These last two ballgames they’ve actually went out and looked like they want to win. They’re getting some heart and some grit, and I’ve been wanting that all year long. They gave it all they have tonight. They’re whipped. There’s no doubt about it.”
Arcanum led throughout Thursday’s game as the Trojans scored the first 6 points, which included 4 from Madi O’Daniel. Stevie Johnting added 10 first quarter points for the Trojans as they built a 14-7 lead through one quarter of play.
In the second quarter Arcanum doubled its lead to 14 points, and the Trojans went into halftime up 30-16.
In the third quarter the Trojan defense came up big and limited the Blackhawks to just a single point off a Kelsie Hunt free throw. At the end of the quarter Arcanum was up 50-17.
The fourth quarter was the best of the night for Mississinawa Valley as the Blackhawks outscored the Trojans 10-7 for the 57-27 final score.
Though the score didn’t necessarily reflect it, Hershey thought his team played well considering the circumstances.
“We only played two JV quarters because the whole JV team has been sick,” he said. “And they wanted to try it tonight so we went two quarters, but it’s just been going around terrible for us. The last week and a half has been awful, and we’ve still got five varsity players that haven’t gotten sick yet. So I’m a little worried about that.”
Kelsie Hunt led Mississinawa Valley with 12 points in Thursday’s game. Also for the Blackhawks, Mikayla Stump scored 8 points, Madison Stachler scored 5, and Sidnie Hunt scored 2.
Johnting led Arcanum with a game-high 21 points. Also for the Trojans, Gracie Garno scored 7 points, Madi O’Daniel scored 6, Camille Pohl scored 6, Elle Siculan scored 6, Brittany Kinney scored 4, Kayla O’Daniel scored 4, and McKenzie Sharritts scored 3.
Grote was glad to see a balanced attack out of the Trojans.
“When we can rely on kids and we know they’ll be able to put the ball in the basket, play solid defense, makes it easy on the coaches to rotate players, keep them fresh and just wear other teams out,” he said.
Arcanum improved to 10-5 overall and 7-1 in the Cross County Conference with Thursday’s win while Mississinawa Valley dropped to 1-13 overall and 0-8 in the CCC.
Mississinawa Valley will return to action at Lehman Catholic in a varsity-only contest that will begin at 1 p.m. Saturday.
Arcanum will play host to Fort Recovery, who is ranked No. 4 in Division III by the Associated Press, on Saturday.
“It’s definitely going to be a challenge,” Grote said. “It’s a different style of basketball sometimes when you’ve got a 6-footer in the post and few 5-9 girls that can handle the ball on the wing. It will definitely be a challenge, but if we come out, we rebound and we take care of the basketball we should have a chance.”
The junior varsity game between Arcanum and Fort Recovery, which will begin at noon on Saturday, will only last two quarters.
Kyle Shaner may be reached at 937-569-4316. Follow me on Twitter @KShanerAdvocate or get updates on Facebook by searching Darke County Sports or Advocate 360. For more features online go to dailyadvocate.com.