LYNNVILLE — Entering Saturday night, the No. 1 AP ranked Class A Wood Memorial High School Lady Trojans basketball team were hoping to give its seniors a third sectional championship in their fourth and final sectional.
The team started out slow, but with a loud Tecumseh High School gym filled with Wood Memorial fans behind the teams back, the Lady Trojans topped the Northeast Dubois Lady Jeeps for the sectional title, 59-42.
“It was pretty normal for us,” said Lady Trojans head coach Jonnie Bartley after the sectional title win on Saturday. “We had a feel out first quarter and a great defensive second quarter. Morgan Loveless was great for us tonight. She did a lot in the second quarter for us. Once we got going, we calmed and were a lot more efficiant on offense. Down the stretch I think we could have played it better. All in all, it feels pretty good. It’s a lot of pressure off our kids to get through this part of it.”
The weekend started on Friday for the Lady Trojans, taking on sectional rival and host Tecumseh in a semifinal matchup. The Lady Trojans trailed early, but ultimate survived with an 18-point victory, 52-34, behind Syndey Day’s 17 points.
Joining day in double-figures on Friday was Brenna Maikranz, Carsen Robinson and Lexi Lashbrook all tallying 10 points.
“Offensively we could have been better,” coach Bartley said. “When Sydney is playing really well, we are a really good basketball team. That’s a good sign of us moving ahead. One kid always finds a way to step up.”
“I wasn’t completely surprised with the start,” said coach Bartley on Friday. “It’s a big rivalry and we knew we’d see their best and that we’d be a little tight. Once we got through the first quarter and settled down, we would take over. On defense we allowed 13 points in the first quarter and then gave up 21 points for the rest of the night. I’m really pleased with that. If we can play defense, that will take us through the tournament.”
On Saturday night, the Lady Trojans were slow out of the gate, coming to a 9-9 tie with the Jeeps at the end of the first quarter.
In the physical contest, both teams entered the bonus in the second quarter and with 2:33 to play, the Trojans led 16-13 and went on a 6-0 run to end the half and take a 22-13 lead into the intermission.
“It was great to go into halftime like that,” coach Bartley added. “To get some separation we felt that we were in control of the game going into half.”
From there, the Trojans didn’t trail again.
The Trojans threw up 15 points in the third quarter while holding the Jeeps to nine to extend the Wood lead to 15-points, 37-22 heading into the final quarter of sectional play.
In the fourth quarter, Robinson was clutch from the charity stripe, sinking nine free throws on nine attempts to hold off a surging Northeast Dubois team that tallied 20 fourth quarter points. The Trojans scored 22.
With all the Trojans starters on the bench for the closing seconds, the JV squad held the ball to secure the sectional title with a 59-42 victory.
“We played a lot better than we did the first time,” Maikranz said after capturing her third sectional title along her senior classmates. “We didn’t start out too hot, but once we got the press on and caused a lot of turnovers, the momentum shifted.”
Mairkanz’s teammate agreed.
“We always come out nervous, but once we get going it’s always better,” said Chloe Bartley.
Robinson led the Trojans in scoring with a game-high 15 points, followed by Bartley with 12 and Maikranz with 10. Lashbrook and Day both scored eight.
“I can always count on my seniors from the free throw line,” coach Bartley said. “It didn’t surprise me at all about Carsen, especially with how much of a competitor as Carsen is.”
For the Jeeps, Tyla Rasche tallied a team-high eight points.
The Lady Trojans were supported all weekend by the Trojan faithful, packing up more than half of the Tecumseh gym on both Friday and Saturday, something that coach Bartley and the team are very proud of.
“We’ve had a good season and the crowd has grown every game,” said coach Bartley. “It feels awesome to have those guys behind us. Sometimes its too loud and hard for us to hear, but that’s the way you want it in this atmosphere.”
Up next for the Lady Trojans is a trip to Springs Valley High School in French Lick, IN for the Class A regional, taking on Crothersville at 11 a.m. CST on Saturday, Feb. 11. Should the Lady Trojans advance, they will take on the winner between South Central and AP No. 2 ranked Vincennes Rivet on Saturday night at 7 p.m. CST at Springs Valley High.
“I don’t know much about either team,” coach Bartley said. “I’ve made myself not look that far ahead because I didn’t want to get caught up in that. I don’t think we’ll change what we do, we just have to it better than they do. We’ll get some film and get ready for them. But right now we are going to enjoy this one.”
Maikranz added that, “I think after winning sectionals we have a lot of momentum heading into regionals. I think we can do it.”