GREENVILLE – When a highly ranked team comes to town it always presents a challenge.
This was the task at hand for the Lady Wave of Greenville as Trotwood-Madison came to town Monday night. The Lady Rams were ranked No. 4 in the latest Associated Press Division II poll.
Would the Lady Wave come out with a quick emotional burst that would keep them in the game for a short time or would they be able to play with Trotwood? The Lady Rams held on to win 59-50, but Greenville gave them all they wanted.
The first quarter saw Trotwood slowly begin to stretch out a lead. After Greenville co-captain Karsyn Shaffer converted two free throws to draw the Lady Wave within 2 at 8-6, the Lady Rams proceeded to score 10 of the next 14 to advance to an 18-10 lead by period’s end. Trotwood’s full-court pressure had begun to cause Greenville to play out of its normal rhythm and commit turnovers.
The Lady Rams’ run continued into the early moments of the second quarter as they moved out to a 22-10 margin. Suddenly, Greenville turned things around thanks to consecutive fast-break baskets that sparked an 8-0 run that was the beginning of a 15-6 streak to conclude the half. The Lady Wave, after this strong push found, themselves only trailing 28-25 at the intermission.
By the time the third period began Greenville had made great strides against the Trotwood press. It was having less and less effect. The Lady Rams were, however, picking up the tempo especially after Greenville missed field goal attempts. They pushed the ball down the floor looking to penetrate the Lady Wave defense before it had a chance to set up.
Trotwood was playing with a 5-point lead until Greenville’s Jada Garland bombed in a triple to cut the deficit to 32-30. The Lady Rams caught fire and closed out the third quarter on a 9-2 roll to take a 41-32 lead into the final eight minutes.
Greenville girls basketball coach Rachel Kerns made a crucial decision.
“We decided to make them win it from the free throw line,” she said. “We were going to make them earn their points that way.”
That’s exactly what Greenville did. Trotwood shot 16-of-26 from the line in the fourth period. The Rams scored 18 in all. Whenever anyone except senior Taj Thompson had the ball the strategy worked well. All other Lady Rams shot 5-of-14 in the final stanza, but the Trotwood senior made 11-of-12.
It took this type of heroics to stall the Lady Wave comeback as they too scored 18 in the quarter. Greenville drew within 4 at 51-47 with nearly a minute to play but could draw no closer as Thompson iced the game by nailing her final 5-of-6 at the stripe.
“The things I said to the girls after the game were all positive,” Coach Kerns said. “Great effort. They listened. They were coachable. They executed. They did what we asked them to do. Because of that we were in a position that down the stretch a basket here or there, who knows how it could have played out.”
Shaffer led the Lady Wave with 15 points and Cassie Cromwell contributed 10 while Garland added three triples for 9 points. Thompson of Trotwood led all scorers with 26.
Greenville is now 6-9 on the season and 3-5 in conference play.