ARCANUM – The Christmas tree lights along Main Street were all aglow last Thursday night, but nothing could compare to the glow on head coach Michael Dean’s face after his Arcanum girls squad stung Bethel with its first loss, 68-38.
The score could have been more but with the issue already decided the first teamers were called off to let the rest of the squad shine. Bethel was 4-0 and confident they could get another “W” in the Cross County Conference ledger, but the Lady Trojans had other ideas and then some. Arcanum was 2-2 heading into this fray and coming off a disappointing loss to Sidney Lehman Catholic at home on Dec. 1. A loss was definitely not on the agenda for this night as Arcanum came out focused and ready to show the Bees their orange and black attack. The Trojans let there be no doubt in the first couple of minutes by scorching the nets for the first 10 points of the game to stun the bewildered Bees from Clark County. The onslaught continued as the Darke County squad was excelling on both ends of the court with stifling defense and up tempo offense to put up 15 of the first 17 points.
The first quarter was all Arcanum as its athletes were in action from the get go by getting it done on both ends of the court in front of about 300 sports enthusiasts. The Trojans and Bees were both playing helter-skelter basketball, but it was the Bees looking for shelter after going down by 12 after one frame, 20-8. Junior Kayla O’Daniel constructed some of her patented moves on the inside against the taller Bees for 6 points to lead the squad. Following closely was the inside presence of freshman Taylor Gray and junior Camille Pohl who put home 4 points apiece. A total of five players scored which set the tone for the night as the Lady Trojans placed four players in double figures. The Bees had four players score, but they could only muster up a deuce apiece for their efforts.
The second quarter was the most competitive eight minutes of action for the game as Arcanum tossed in 14 markers while the Bees buzzed in 11 for a slim but still quite effective 3-point advantage. Lydia Lowery battled underneath and garnered 6 points to lead the way for Bethel. Arcanum in strange but true scoring had only one person score the entire quarter and that was Gray with 14 of her game-high 20 points, accounting for 70 percent of her scoring in 8 minutes with nary a trey included. At half, the score registered a 34-19 advantage for the homestanding Trojans.
Third quarter theatrics showed the Trojans scoring express matching their first quarter bust out of 20 points, while this time giving up 11 points to make the count go upward to 54-30 for a comfortable 24-point margin. Leading the way for the Trojans was O’Daniel who matched the Bees whole team total in the frame by knocking in 11 herself with an off balance three for good measure. Pohl was not too far behind with an aggressive 6 around the bucket. Olivia Reittinger rang the scoring bell for the Bees with a three and a two for five counters to pace the worn out Bees.
Fourth quarter firings showed another double digit quarter for the Trojans as they hammered home another 14 points while giving up a scarce eight points with dynamic defense. Freshman Hailey Unger played lights out by nailing a long 3-pointer to excite Trojan nation on her way to a quarter leading 9 points. Mack Staggs led the Bees by chipping in 4 from inside the arc area.
Scoring for Arcanum: Gracie Garno 1, O’Daniel 17, Pohl 10, Madeline Fearon 6, Gray 20, Unger 12 and Sasha Derringer 2 for 68 points. Three triples, 23 regulars and 13 of 17 freebies made.
For Bethel: Reittinger 9, Natalie Moorman 4, Klaudia Lowery 4, Staggs 4, Kenna Gray 5, Lydia Lowery 10 and Mekenna Floyd 2 for 38. Two triples, 15 regulars and two of 8 free throws made.
”We came out ready to play tonight from the beginning after a disappointing loss to Sidney Lehman,” Coach Dean said. “The whole week of practice was intense and focused and we did the job on both ends of the court. This Bethel squad was a confident 4-0 and we beat them soundly at their own game with four players in double figures and seven players scoring. Taylor Gray had another double-double with 12 rebounds and O’Daniel was all over the place tonight. We broke their press and had more defensive pressure than they had seen before for a well executed game plan. We need to keep our focus and get ready for our next game against non-league foe Milton-Union.”