NEW LEBANON – It was raining three’s in the New Lebanon Dixie gymnasium on Monday night.
Arcanum hit seven total from long range including six by freshman Hailey Unger, who tied a school record for a single game when she connected on her sixth bomb early in the fourth quarter. Unger had a career-high 27 points in leading the Lady Trojans to a 74-24 non-league win over the Greyhounds.
“All I can say is I got a good group of girls,” said first-year Arcanum coach Michael Dean. “They are all exceptional players and they just do everything I ask them. They work hard as a group and they are starting to peak at the right time on certain things and other things we’re going to put some polish on before we hit the tournament.
“We did a lot of substitution because we are getting ready for the tournament,” he continued. “I’m not going to hold my kids back. I know some of their fans were a little upset with the score, but I subbed all the way down and my subs scored so it is just a testament to all their hard work and their talent and everything else.”
Eight of the 13 rostered players for Arcanum scored in the game led by Unger’s 27. Next was freshman Taylor Gray, who had another double-double with 15 points and 11 rebounds. Freshman Madelyn Fearon also reached double figures in the scoreboard with 13 points.
The Trojans wasted no time in getting started against Dixie. Arcanum rolled of a quick 7 points before the Greyhounds found the bottom of the net. Unger had 5 of those 7 points and Fearon the other 2 before McKinlee Ruppert drained a 3-pointer to make it a 7-3 advantage for the Trojans. After that triple by Ruppert, Arcanum had an 11-2 run to close out the first period with an 18-5 lead.
The second quarter was much the same as the Trojans went to the break with a 39-13 lead. Unger had a couple more three’s in the frame to pad the lead.
In the third quarter, Arcanum began an 11-0 run that spanned nearly 4 minutes before Dixie scored on a bucket by Kalyn McQueen making it 50-15 with 4:08 left in the period. Arcanum closed the third quarter on another 11-2 run that made it 61-20 heading to the final 8 minutes of play. Arcanum outscored Dixie 13-4 in the fourth period for the final margin.
“The kids work hard together in our transition,” Dean said. “They are starting to pick up the new system we brought in this year and I think you saw that with some of the back court passes. We are just real smooth at times. At other times not so much, but we’re getting there.
“We are so deep that we can switch out any five and feel like we don’t lose anything,” he continued. “These freshman have really picked it up and my juniors and seniors are great leaders. Kayla O’Daniel and Gracie Garno are just phenomenal leaders in the locker room and on the court. Kayla is our leading scorer, but if you watched her play tonight she is so unselfish with the ball. I’m excited to see what comes forth from here with what they are capable of as they start to understand the system.”
Dixie was led by Ruppert with 9 points followed by 4 points each from Samantha Shell and Faith Fisher.
Dixie fell to 3-12 with the loss and will play at Preble Shawnee on Thursday. Arcanum is now 10-5 and will return to action on Saturday at home against Bradford.
“We have some tough teams ahead of us with Versailles, Russia, Franklin-Monroe and Tri-Village,” Dean said. “I mean how can you argue that is not a murderer’s row of a schedule before getting to the tournament and after what we have already faced, so I’m just proud of my kids and happy to get out of here with a win against a school that is in our district tournament.
“We want to be that team where if you choose to try and stop us on the outside you can’t stop us on the inside and vice versa,” he continued. “I think they have to respect our outside game and our inside game with Gray and (Camille) Pohl and (Macey) Hartman. I’m hoping we can surprise some of those teams on that murderer’s row before the end of the year and the tournament gets here. Right now things are just clicking and I’m looking to see how far we can get.”
Score by quarters
Arcanum – Gracie Garno 2 0 4, Camille Pohl 1 0 2, Madelyn Fearon 5 2 13, Hailey Unger 9 3 27, Kayla O’Daniel 4 0 8, Taylor Gray 7 1 15, Elliana Sloan 0 3 3, Eva Siculan 1 0 2. Totals: 26 9 74.
Dixie – Samantha Shell 2 0 4, McKinlee Ruppert 4 0 9, Sydney Creamer 1 0 2, Kalyn McQueen 1 1 3, Faith Fisher 1 2 4, Savannah Hartmier 1 0 2. Totals: 10 3 24.
3-pointers – Arcanum 7 (Unger 6, Fearon), Dixie – 1 (Ruppert).
Records: Arcanum (10-5), Dixie (3-12).
The Daily Advocate sports editor Skip Weaver can be reached at (937) 569-4316 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also follow him on Twitter at @skipweaver65.