ARCANUM – Thursday night’s contest between National Trail and Arcanum was more than a Cross County Conference contest but a clash between offensive philosophies.
The perimeter oriented and 3-pointer centered attack of the Lady Trail Blazers versus the get the ball inside-first offense of the Lady Trojans.
Arcanum wanted to come out and get off to a good start.
“We came out and played hard. We wanted to get a quick start. We came out and played pretty well,” coach Matt Grote said. “Just wish the end of the first quarter would have went better. They hit two or three threes in a row and were right back in it until the end.”
The Lady Trojans broke ahead 9-0 thanks to seven points by senior center Rebecca Deao, including a 3-pointer, and a field goal by junior forward Stevie Johnting. National Trail would break out their long range attack by hitting three from behind the arc to close the Arcanum lead to 17-11 by the quarter’s end.
Arcanum used a match-up zone defense in the first half to stop National Trail’s dribble-drive offense. This stopped any penetration toward the basket but did lead to some open looks from outside. When the Lady Trojans had the ball, they began to see benefits from running their offense and getting the ball inside.
“That’s something we really try to do. We have really good post players, who can not only score but also pass out of the post,” Grote said. “Once we get it in there and start finishing, it opens it up a lot for our 3-point shooters outside and starts opening up driving lanes. Makes everything easier for the team.”
The Lady Trojans were in total control of the second quarter, pulling out to a 28-15 as the period was drawing to a close, but National Trail’s junior Payton Laird connected on three triples, of her game-high 17, to bring the Lady Blazers to within nine, 33-24, at the half.
National Trail had nine field goals in the first half, six were 3-pointers. Arcanum led at the free throw line going 3-6, 10-20 for the game. National Trail went 0-2 in the half at the stripe, and that is all the Blazers would have for the game because they attempted so many perimeter shots.
Arcanum opened the second half by switching to a full-court man-to-man defense to match up better on the Lady Blazer long-range shooters. The Lady Trojans limited Trail to eight points in the period while continuing to work the ball in the paint to extend their lead to 45-32 after three periods.
The fourth quarter saw Arcanum continue to be efficient offensively and stingy defensively. The Trojans scored only 11 points but allowed the Lady Blazers only seven points and just one 3-pointer. The Lady Trojan defense had allowed just 15 points in the entire second half.
The Lady Trojans were led in scoring by Deao with 15 with Johnting adding 13. Arcanum received a fine contribution of 18 points from the bench.
Arcanum is now 4-3 overall and 2-2 in the CCC.
Arcanum won the junior varsity contest 45-10.
National Trail- 39
Laird 17, Stan 2, Abner 12, E. Byrd 6, J. Byrd 2.
Ross 6, Siculan 3, Abner 8, Johnting 13, Unger 4, Sharritts 5, O’Daniel 2, Deao 15.
3pts: NT: 9 (Laird 5, Abner 2, E. Byrd 2); Arc: 4 (Siculan, Unger, Sharritts, Deao).
Nat Trail 11 13 8 7 39
Arcanum 17 16 12 11 56