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STC Trojans pull even in home opener

December 5, 2018
By Allison Graham - Sports Editor (agraham@tamatoledonews.com) , Toledo Chronicle, Tama News-Herald

Friday's non-conference matchup with the Beckman Trailblazers was a physical battle between the STC Trojans girls basketball team and Beckman. Both teams struggled with ball handling which resulted in lots of turnovers for both teams. Beckman came into the night 2-0 while South Tama was 1-2 after just capturing its first win of the season on the road at Mount Vernon three nights earlier. The Trojans kept it rolling on Friday with a 44-40 win over the Blazers, bringing their record to 2-2.

However, it was not smooth getting to that win. The Trojans jumped to a quick 8-0 lead by finding their shot at the perimeter. Senior Madison Rohach lit the spark for the Trojans. She did all of her damage from long range, going 4-5 from the three point line and finishing with 12 points on the night. Fellow senior Jessica Musgrave scored 13 points to lead the Trojans.

By the middle of the first quarter the Blazers had applied a full court press on the Trojans. That really put a wrench in the Trojans plan as they continued to struggle with the press.

Article Photos

South Tama’s Madison Rohach takes a shot from beyond the three point line in Friday’s contest with Beckman. The Trojans won 44-40.
Chronicle Photo/Allison Graham

The Blazers held the Trojans to just one field goal in the second quarter while creating offensive opportunities that cut into the Trojans' lead. At halftime, the Blazers trailed by just two, 22-20.

The second half was a back and forth for the two teams as they each tried to gain ground. Musgrave picked up her fourth foul early in the third quarter. With Musgrave on the bench the Trojans found ways to score without her. Taylor Ray led with four points in the third quarter while Zoee Buffalo and Carissa Musgrave also contributed baskets.

"That's been what we have been talking about this season, we have to be able to function with and without Jess," head coach Todd Dale said. "The other girls have to score, we have to handle the ball, so in a way it was good because we forced those girls to get out there and take control. You hate to have her on the bench, it feels like everything steps back a half step or two, but the girls did a good job of stepping up and doing what they had to do in that second and third quarter. It was a good effort by the girls."

After the game Musgrave commented, "I was a little frustrated but I knew we could do it. I am so used to AAU where it's really physical. It's so different to switch to the high school game."

Starting the fourth quarter, Beckman scored seven unanswered points and took the lead 34-30. Rohach was able to cut it back down to a one point lead with a much needed three pointer. Musgrave returned to the court knowing she would need to stay in it.

"Don't touch anyone, if they go down the lane it's there," Musgrave said with a laugh. "I was in foul trouble and I couldn't do anything, that was my main focus. I also just stayed focused with our baskets and getting people open looks to pull out the win."

The Blazers were hanging within a couple of points of the Trojans until Musgrave scored a layup and was fouled. She sank her free throw and that gave the Trojans a four point lead in the final minute of the game. The Blazers were forced to foul and they would end up sending Musgrave back to the line once more. She hit both of her free throws and the Trojans emerged with a 44-40 win.

On the defensive end, senior Jaelin Berger contributed in a big way with five blocks, five rebounds and a team leading 3 assists.

"That's what we want from Jaelin, good defense by getting up there and challenging people and getting those rebounds," Dale said. "We want her to score too, we just have to find a way to get the ball to her inside and let her score. Tonight it seemed like she would end up on top and Taylor would end up underneath, so we will work on that. We need to get our tall girl down there."

While the win was obviously good for the Trojans, Coach Dale recognizes they have done a lot of work but still have a lot of work to do.

"We are building a lot faster than we did a year ago but we have a couple of tough games coming next week. We are going to take those in stride and see what we can do," Dale said. "I think we are going to be back to last year's form a lot earlier this season, and that's going to be a good thing, but we have to get beyond where we were last year and we have a long, long ways to go."

 
 

 

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