NEW PARIS – Arcanum was able to leave the National Trail gym with a win on Thursday night, but it was anything but a typical game.
Both teams had extraordinary runs – at one point Arcanum lead 24-0, then Trail had a 22-6 run of their own. So the first half very much resembled a roller coaster as each team got on a roll. The outcome was in doubt until the last minute of the game, but the Trojans were able to come from behind in the last quarter for the win, 50-44.
The Trojans were riding high coming into the contest having beaten Division I Vandalia Butler in their previous outing. They rode that momentum deep into the first quarter of this game. Offensively they were scoring at will and defensively they were shutting out the Blazers for a 24-0 lead at the end of that quarter. It seemed like the Trojans might have an easy night of it.
But this game would not be a cakewalk. Arcanum seemed to relax a little and Trail finally scored its first basket, then another. They fed off of that momentum and picked it up on defense and suddenly the Trojans were having problems making shots. By the half they had outscored Arcanum 22-6. It was a 30-24 score in favor of Arcanum at the half and it was game on.
“Our practices were not the best coming in and we were kind of stale. Some coaches would like to see a team leap out to a lead like that but I know from experience that kids can relax and let up,” Arcanum coach Michael Dean said.
Post player Taylor Gray got her third foul early in the third quarter and would not return to the court until the fourth quarter. Arcanum switched up defenses several times in the quarter – man to man, zone, and a trapping defense in the last part of the quarter. At first the trapping defense was effective, but Trail was able to work the ball to the basket late in the quarter and it was now a 3-point game 39-36 in favor of the Trojans as their margin was slipping.
Blazer Makena Laird led all scorers with 22 points, but only 2 of those points were scored in the last quarter as Arcanum used a box and 1 for the most part to keep extra pressure on her. Still the Blazers were able to find other players to score and lead 44-41 with about three minutes left.
Gray sunk a basket from the field and was fouled – she made that foul shot to tie it back up with an old-fashioned 3-point play. Then with about a minute left Gracie Garno made the play of the night. She stole the ball at mid court and sprinted to the basket for a layup to regain the lead. She would be fouled two more times as Trail tried to get the ball back from Arcanum and she sunk all four of her fouls shots to seal the win. The wild ride had finally come to an end.
Coach Dean on the game,“I know one of Trail’s coaches and he has done a good job with them. They are a hard working group of girls. They fought tooth and nail. They started hitting their shots in the second quarter and made a game of it. I thought we played some good defense – it was a good thing we did because this game went right to the wire. I couldn’t ask more from these kids it was tight, and something my coach said was good players find a way to win – and this team did.”
“Gracie Garno is a tenacious player, she leads our team as a point guard and a captain. She stepped up for us tonight. An emphasis this year has been free throws and in the end, it is what saved us.”