Blazers seeking more offense

Eddie Mowen Jr.

January 28, 2014

National Trail continues to play close games, but the Blazers’ boys basketball team keep coming up on the short end of the scoreboard.

Over the past two weeks, the Blazers have dropped four straight to see their record dip to 1-14 overall and 1-8 in the Cross County Conference.

Last week, Trail lost to Middletown Madison, 47-36, on Wednesday, Jan. 22, in a make-up game, then battled Franklin-Monroe, one of the CCC’s best teams, close for a half, before suffering a 53-34 loss. The week prior, the Blazers fell to Newton 56-50, after leading by 17 points in the first half, and Mississinawa Valley 48-44.

Against Madison, Bailey Stewart led the way with 12 points and nine rebounds. The Blazers trailed 5-2 after the first quarter and 20-12 at the break. Trail saw their deficit grow to 16 by the end of the third, 33-17.

Trail shot just 28 percent from the field and committed 16 turnovers in the contest.

On Friday, Jan. 24, the Blazers “lost to very good Franklin-Monroe team.”

Trail was behind just 22-19 at the break, but scored just 15 points in the second half.

Trail coach Mike Harrison said his team got a big lift from junior Josh Baker, who scored eight first-half points to help keep the game close.

Harrison said the defense also did a good job of limiting FM leading scorer Travis Feitshans touches and he he went to the bench in the second quarter with 2 fouls and no points.

In the second half, the Blazers’ shots stopped falling again and FM was able to get some easier shots aided by 10 offensive rebounds and pulled away. Michael Bane led the scoring with 11. Nick Davis had seven rebounds.

Against Newton on Tuesday, Jan. 14, Trail led 19-3 at the end of first quarter as Bailey Stewart and Michael Bane each scored nine points a piece.

Both picked up their 3rd fouls early in the second quarter and spent the rest of game riddled in foul trouble — and things started to unravel.

Trail committed nine second-quarter turnovers and at halftime the lead was down to 26-18. Newton took a 36-31 lead in third before Trail tied it at 36 at the end of third.

The lead exchanged hands in the fourth several times before Newton was able to take 46-43 lead with 3 minutes to go, and then converted on 10 straight free throws to seal the win.

Stewart finished with 14, Bane 12.

Against MV, on Friday, Jan. 17, MV led 10-9 after the first quarter and 26-13 at half.

The Blackhawks lead was 29-15 midway through the third when Trail went on an 11-2 run to close to 31-26 after three. The Blazers got as close as 37-34 and had the ball midway through the fourth, but could not get any closer. Bailey Stewart had 22 points.

Trail was scheduled to play Dixie on Saturday, Jan. 25, but the game was postponed due to poor weather conditions. It will be made up Saturday, Feb. 15.

The Blazers are scheduled to visit Bradford Friday, Jan. 31, before hosting Preble Shawnee on Saturday.