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Tussle at Trail
J. C. Tilton

The season opener for the TVS girls basketball team was exciting to say the least. A good sized crowd was on hand to see a closely matched game. Trail had experience on their side, while TVS, though talented, was young. TVS did have a height advantage but this was negated partially when post player Brittany Hayes injured her ankle before halftime. She did reenter the game late in the second half, but her mobility was limited.

Both teams opened with a press, although TVS called it off and settled into a half court defense. The team used both a zone and man to man defenses during the game. The Blazers would use their press sparingly thru out the game. They would press for a couple of possessions and then settle back into a half court defense, only to ambush TVS a few minutes later. A fellow sportswriter, Eddie Mowen, was there and we agreed that it would be interesting to see if TVS had more turnovers than points in the first half. The young team was making bad passes and making poor decisions. Trail took advantage, they took the lead and ran with it. They were up 10-7 at the 1st quarter and stretched the lead to 25-17 at the half.

Neither team gained much ground in the third quarter, TVS tried to make a couple of runs, but fell short. At the end of three, Trail had a significant 46-37 lead. South made up some ground in the third quarter, and Trail tried to slow down the game by working the ball around the back court. But TVS was able to get some easy baskets and close the gap, it was 46-40 at the 4:48 mark and suddenly TVS was within striking distance. But team depth was now a factor, TVS had a deeper bench and they had been able to allow their starters to get some air. National Trail was starting to get tired legs in the 4th quarter, but they went back to the press that had very effective for them most of the game. Whether it was Blazer fatigue or a young team rapidly maturing under pressure, TVS was able to weave thru the press and get some baskets.

It was at about this point that the game turned in TVS's favor. After switching on a pick, Hayes was guarding a perimeter player. With her long arms, she was able to bat away a pass and take the ball to the hoop to give TVS their first lead of the night at about the 2 minute mark. It was a close intense game and the tension was high. TVS had gained possession of the ball and was in transition when elbows were exchanged, this led to a punch and soon Brittany Hayes and a Trail player were exchanging blows. A few parents rushed onto the court, but order was quickly restored. TVS had extended their lead to 5, the score was 54-49. Trail made a gallant comeback, as the clock wound down they closed the gap. TVS did help Trail with a turnover with 10 seconds left, but they failed to convert on their possession and TVS won 54-52.

Coach Robinson was pleased with the win. She agreed that turnovers were a problem in the first half, but on the other hand she was happy with the way that the team responded in the 4th quarter. There were two freshman on the court and she did not know how they would respond to the Blazer's press, but they did not panic and performed well. Having team depth is a plus. She remarked that at one point a player admitted that they were not having a good game, and asked that another player be put in the game. Robinson likes the flexibility of having a deep bench - “If one player is having a bad game, then I can put in someone else and maybe they will have a great night.”

Scoring for the Panthers is as follows: Reed 6, Durkle 6, Lipps 9, Deleranko 2, Brubaker 8, Duchemin 2, Hayes 11, McCoy 10. Hayes will be suspended for 2 games by OSHAA rules. The JV's won their game handily 32-10. Scoring for the JV's: French 2, Tilton 14, Burkett 2, McCollum 4, Niswonger 4, Melling 1, Colby 5.      


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