ARCANUM – Some rust showed as the Arcanum girls basketball team ended a 12-day break with a 41-36 loss to Russia on Saturday.
“Effort was there,” Arcanum coach Matt Grote said. “We played hard. We knew Russia would come out and they’d play hard. That’s a good team. They got after it, and we just weren’t quite ready, I guess.”
Arcanum came out hustling and playing scrappy in the early minutes of Saturday’s game. The Trojans forced several turnovers and got rebounds. However, many of their shots created by their effort didn’t fall.
“It comes from a long layoff,” Grote said. “We hadn’t played a game since Versailles the 21st. We’ve been after it in practice, which is a good thing, but sometimes shots aren’t going to fall. And when they don’t we have to step it up on defense. For the most part we did a good job. We just couldn’t contain some players at the end, and when it came down to it we didn’t get rebounds that we needed to get.”
Arcanum’s one hot hand of the first quarter was Stevie Johnting, who scored 10 of her team-high 14 points in the first eight minutes of the game. With Johnting’s 10 and a 3-pointer by Abby Ross, Arcanum found itself tied with Russia 13-13 through one quarter.
Arcanum and Russia continued to match each other point for point in the second quarter as the game went into halftime tied 20-20.
However, in the third quarter Arcanum couldn’t get anything going. It took more than six-and-a-half minutes for the Trojans to score in the second half with Rebecca Deao finally breaking the scoring drought.
“We just struggled,” Grote said. “They played hard. They played hard defensively, Russia. We came out and we just couldn’t make a basket, had trouble executing, we had a little case of the fumbles, dropped two or three passes here or there, had some dumb turnovers, but, you know, it is what it is.”
Russia only managed five points in the quarter, though, so Arcanum remained close, 25-22, entering the fourth quarter.
Arcanum reduced Russia’s lead to a point or two several times in the fourth quarter but couldn’t quite pull even with the Raiders. Arcanum did have opportunities late in the game, though.
With 12.3 seconds left Russia led 39-36 and went to the foul line. The Raiders missed the front end of a one-and-one but forced a jump ball to maintain possession.
After an Arcanum foul, Russia again went to the line and again missed the front end of a one-and-one. But Russia came up with the loose ball, forcing Arcanum to foul again.
This time Maria Herron knocked down both free throws to secure a 41-36 win for Russia.
“That’s an effort thing,” Grote said of his team not getting either of the late rebounds. “I mean we just didn’t get our butts down, get into them good enough. They wanted it. They wanted it more, and they went and got it.”
Johnting led Arcanum with her team-leading 14 points. Also for the Trojans, Alexis Abner scored five points, McKenzie Sharritts scored five, Madison O’Daniel scored four, Ross scored three, Elle Siculan scored three, and Rebecca Deao scored two.
Herron led Russia with a game-high 23 points. Also for the Raiders, Tiffany Hatcher scored nine points, Jenna Cordonnier scored two, Whitney Pleiman scored two, Laurissa Poling scored two, Cameo Wilson scored two, and Cassie Pleiman scored one.
“Overall team defense we played pretty well,” Grote said. “Like I said, if we would have gotten a couple more rebounds it might have turned out a little different today.”
Arcanum fell to 6-5 on the season with Saturday’s loss. The Lady Trojans will look to rebound on Tuesday when they travel to Fort Recovery.
Kyle Shaner may be reached at 937-569-4316. Follow me on Twitter @KShanerAdvocate or get updates on Facebook by searching Darke County Sports or Advocate 360. For more features online go to dailyadvocate.com.