ARCANUM – The Arcanum Lady Trojans trailed by 13 points going into the final quarter before rallying late in the game and nearly pulling off the upset but fell short 44-41 to Preble Shawnee.
Preble Shawnee returned almost everyone from its sectional title team last year, and Arcanum knew it was going to be a tough task.
The Arrows struck first, led by Brenna Woodward, who knocked down two triples early, but a fielder by Macey Hartman and two straight buckets by Kayla O’Daniel kept Arcanum close, trailing 7-6.
O’Daniel then made an athletic reverse layup at the 2:17 mark to give the Trojans an 8-7 lead.
Preble Shawnee answered with a quick run when Woodward hit her third triple to give the Arrows 13-8 lead.
Gracie Garno hit a runner in the lane to cut the margin to 13-10, and Camille Pohl drained a trey, but the Arrows still led 15-13 at the end of the first quarter.
Scoring slowed considerably in the second period with the Arrows adding 6 points, the Trojans added 5, and Preble Shawnee was up 21-18 at the half.
“Once we recognized Woodward was a shooter making shots, we made sure the girls knew they couldn’t help off her, and they did a real nice job locking her down,” Arcanum girls basketball coach Matt Grote said.
With the Trojans shutting down the perimeter game, Shawnee came out attacking the basket and pounding the ball inside, scoring 16 points in the third quarter.
Arcanum struggled offensively, scoring just 6 points in the period, and trailed 37-24 heading into the final stanza.
“They got to the rim and got some easy baskets inside, and we just didn’t execute in the third quarter,” Grote said. “We’ve done it all year. We dig ourselves a hole then fight back, dig another hole, fight back … and we just haven’t found a way to not dig the hole.”
Arcanum wasn’t ready to throw in the towel just yet, ramping up defensive pressure that yielded a couple of steals and easy baskets in the open floor.
Elliana Sloan and O’Daniel followed that up with back-to-back long-range jumpers, and all of sudden it was a 2-point game, 38-36, at the 2:07 mark.
Arcanum held Preble Shawnee without a field goal in the final stanza, but Jenna Lovely burned the Trojans at the free throw line, converting 7-for-8 and quelling every Arcanum made bucket.
With 27 seconds to go Garno’s trey cut the margin to 42-41, and Arcanum fouled someone other than Lovely, and she missed both free throws … but the Trojans didn’t box out and the rebound went back to Preble Shawnee.
Lovely then fired the final two Arrows from the line to seal the win for Shawnee with a 44-41 victory.
“We’ve struggled to rebound this year. We’re a little undersized compared to other teams, and we are lacking that 6-footer we’ve had the past couple of years. We have to do extra boxing out and get down low and trust our guards to come in and help. Right now were just not getting the job done, Grote said.
“Give Shawnee credit; they are a good basketball team,” Grote said.
“We almost pulled it off. We just can’t keep digging holes … but I’m very proud of the effort the girls gave tonight. It was tremendous effort. The execution down the stretch didn’t go our way. It’s the little things we need to work on and fix, and we’ll do that,” Grote concluded.
O’Daniel was the only Trojan in double figure scoring with 13 points.
The Trojans dropped to 3-5 overall and will travel to Casstown on Thursday in a big showdown with Cross County Conference rival Miami East.
Score by quarters
PS …. 15 … 06 … 16 … 07 – 44
AR …. 13 … 05 … 06 … 17 – 41
Preble Shawnee – Sims 3, Lovely 15, Woodward 9, Campbell 2, Plaugher 11, Brown 5,
Totals – 4-9-13/22 – 44
Arcanum – Elliana Sloan 3, Elle Siculan 3, Kayla O’Daniel 13, Camille Pohl 6, Gracie Garno 8, Lexi Unger 3, Macey Hartman 5 – Totals – 6-10-3/10 – 41
PS – 4(Woodward 3, Sims 1)
AR – 6 (Pohl 2, Sloan 1, Elle Siculan 1, O’Daniel 1, Garno 1)