LEWISBURG – Arcanum girls pitched a shutout for two-and-a-half quarters against the Tri-County North Panthers on Saturday.
The Trojans seemed to score at will, but their defense was the most impressive, not allowing North to score a single point until about midway through the third quarter when North finally hit a free throw. But the defensive intensity was unrelenting, only allowing North five more points on the way to a 61-6 victory.
Not that it would have made much difference, but North was playing shorthanded with one of their starters being disciplined and having to sit on the bench. So that made a thin team even thinner.
And Cassi Stinson had been North’s leading scorer coming into the game, but Stevie Johnting was assigned to guard her on defense. Johnting kept her in check and frustrated her all night. And even when Johnting was resting, the subs kept Stinson and the rest of the Panthers from scoring.
Arcanum played a tough, in-your-face man-to-man defense most of the game. For its part, North stayed in a zone. Arcanum was able to score from the outside against the North defense. And when shots missed, the taller Trojan post players were glass cleaners – raking in rebounds and putting in second chance points. Arcanum did press effectively for a bit in the first quarter but called it off after the Trojans were up 24-0 at the end of the first quarter.
North did score on a free throw about midway through the third quarter, and Arcanum entered the last quarter with a daunting 53-1 lead. North eeked out five more hard-earned points, but even the Trojan bench was able to frustrate any attempts by North at making a strong finish.
It was the second league win in a row for Arcanum, who had beaten National Trail 56-39 earlier in the week.
“It was unreal to be honest,” Arcanum girls basketball coach Matt Grote said after the game. “Defensively the girls were talking – we have been preaching that for a long time. We did a lot of little things right tonight, and it really showed in their performance. The bench played really well. Most of them have not seen much varsity, but when they got in there, they played well defensively as well as offensively.”
Johnting and Rebecca Deao, who both scored in double figures both games this week, led the Trojans against Tri-County North.
“They both work really hard in practice, and they are starting to understand the offense a little more,” Grote said. “This is my first year with the program, and we knew it would take a little time to adjust, but I think that it is starting to click for them. But the team as a whole is a great group to work with and that helps a lot.”
On Thursday Arcanum will play host to Twin Valley South.
“We were able to watch them once,” Grote said. “They are a similar team, and they also beat North. We expect to see a little man to man and a little zone from them. They are going to come out and play hard. But if we come out and play hard and play our game, I think we can beat them.”
Scoring for Arcanum: Abby Ross 3, Elle Siculan 2, Alexis Abner 11, Stevie Johnting 19, McKenzie Sharritts 5, Madison O’Daniel 4, Rebecca Deao 17.