COVINGTON – Arcanum took on Jamestown Greeneview in the opening round of the Division III girls sectional basketball tournament on Wednesday at Covington. The Trojans got off to a great start building up a 28-5 first quarter lead and a commanding 42-9 halftime advantage. It would be enough to hold off a furious rally by the Rams late in the second half, with Arcanum winning it 60-42.
Coming into the game, Arcanum had a 14-8 record and earned the sixth seed while Greeneview had a 16-5 record and was the seventh seed. Given that information one would conclude it should be a good game.
The Lady Trojans took full control of the game from the start and at times it probably seemed like they had seven players on the floor to Greeneview as the swarming defensive display put on by Arcanum was overwhelming.
The defense generated a lot of scoring in the open floor and allowed Arcanum to build up a 15-3 lead with three minutes left in the period. The shell-shocked Rams took a couple of timeouts, but couldn’t find a way to stop the hemorrhaging as the lead grew to 28-5 by the end of the quarter.
It was a big quarter for two freshmen – Hailey Unger with 10 points and Madelyn Fearon with 8 including two triples.
The pace slowed in the second quarter, but the Trojans still put up 14 points and the defense remained solid, allowing just 4 points for a 42-9 advantage at the break.
Arcanum coach Michael Dean couldn’t have been more pleased with the way the girls started the game.
“My kids work hard, they are the hardest working kids I’ve ever had in my 24 years of coaching. It doesn’t matter whether they are seniors, freshmen, or whoever I put out there. The kids work hard and I’m very grateful for that. The first half we pressured the way we were supposed to. We ran our half-court press and fed off that and the kids were knocking down shots. I’ve got some good shooters who we were getting the looks needed and the kids stepped into the shots, made them and Greeneview didn’t have much of an answer in the first half,” Dean stated.
The Rams came out in the second half and looked like a completely different team and won the third quarter 17-14.
In the final stanza it was Greeneview who was the more aggressive team with the Trojans sitting back on their heels, a complete reversal from the beginning of the game. The all-out desperate blitz by the Rams resulted in a 16-4 output, but way too little too late as Arcanum held on for the 60-42 win.
Dean wasn’t pleased with the way Arcanum finished and acknowledged it’s an area of focus for them to guard against in the future.
“Greeneview made some good adjustments at the half. I give credit where it’s due, there coach came out and pressured us very hard in the second half which kept us out of our transitional attack like we want to do,” Dean commented.
“Our girls got a little tired in the end with the pace we played for the game, but on the other hand they were tired too, so not much of an excuse. I told the girls we just can’t sit back on a lead because that’s not the type of team we are, we’re an attacking team. Sitting back takes us out of our rhythm because we feed off our press defense and you saw that in the first half,” Dean said.
At the same time coach Dean couldn’t help but heap praise on his team on how far they have come along since the beginning of the year.
“We came in here, Coach Pratt and I, and we changed everything around; from how they warm up, to a different style of basketball and there were some girls who didn’t like that. Then you throw in a very talented freshmen class. Instead of working against us they embraced what we wanted to do and I’m just so proud of how they’ve dealt with it and came together,” Dean praised. “They showed up tonight knowing it’s a new season. We’ve had two tough games to end the regular season with Versailles and Tri-Village and we turned those losses into a positive thing, and I knew they were ready to go tonight,” Dean concluded.
Arcanum was led by Fearon and Unger with 16 points each. They improve to 15-8 on the year.
With the win the Trojans advance to the second round where they will meet a familiar Cross County Conference team in the Bethel Bees, a team they beat earlier in the year 68-38. That game will be played beginning at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 19 at Covington.
Score by quarters
Arcanum – Elliana Sloan 3, Gracie Garno 4, Camille Pohl 7, Madelyn Fearon 16, Hailey Unger 16, Kayla O’Daniel 7, Taylor Gray 5, Macey Hartman 3. Totals 6-17-8/10 – 60.
Greeneview – Ferrell 10, Snyder 3, Stoneman 7, Harding 6, Schloss 6, Sweat 10. Totals 0-16-10/15 – 42.