As the regular season comes to a close, coaches are wanting their team to peak.
For National Trail, the Blazers are searching for answers as they have lost six of their last seven, including two of three games last week.
Trail suffered defeats to Valley View (58-36), Monday, Feb. 3 and Newton (42-35) on Saturday. In between, the Blazers topped county foe Tri-County North, 50-29, on Thursday.
Against Valley View, no Blazer scored more than 7 points in the loss.
Andrea Hunt scored 7 and grabbed 6 rebounds and Peyton Laird added 7. Miranda Mize and Kate Deaton each scored six, with Deaton also pulling down 11 rebounds and blocking four shots.
Trail fell behind 13-6 after the opening quarter and never recovered as they shot a season-low 17 percent form the field.
“We couldn’t get going offensively as we shot a season-low 17 percent from the floor. We really struggled getting into a rhythm offensively, you have to give them a little bit of credit for that, and just the way the game was called as there were 60 free throws shot on the night combined,” Trail coach Troy Ferguson said. “We were able to out-rebound them 39-38 and we didn’t allow a lot of second chance points. We just didn’t move our feet and left their shooters open.”
Trail was 19-of-33 from the line, while the Spartans were 23-of-27.
The Blazers rebounded with a win at TCN on Thursday. Deaton led the charge with 14 points, 12 rebounds and a pair of blocked shots. Mize added 13 points and 7 rebounds.
“As poorly as we shot Monday night, we came back and shot it fairly well tonight at 38 percent and holding them to 25 percent and were able to out-rebound them 45-28, including 18 offensive boards for us,” Ferguson said. “I thought our kids did a nice job defensively in our 1-3-1 zone, we rebounded well out of it, and got long rebounds that led to easy points at the other end. I thought Andrea (Hunt) played a really nice game for us, we need her to come on here and be that third scorer for us to make any kind of run in the tournament. Rachel (Sibila) played really well for us as well, for her at 5’1” to get six boards speaks of the way she was just getting after it for us.”
Ferguson said it was good win for the team. It also snapped the Blazers five game losing streak.
“It was a nice team win for us, to break a five-game losing streak against a county and league rival, it was something the girls really wanted and it showed in their efforts,” he said.
On Saturday, against Newton, Ferguson said his team ‘let one get away’ in suffering the loss to the Indians.
“This one we let get away, they gave us plenty of chances to take leads, we just couldn’t capitalize; we’d miss shots or turn the ball over in critical spots,” Ferguson said. “We were out-rebounded 32-23 and allowed 11 offensive boards. We came out real passive in the second half after I thought we did a decent job of attacking the first half, which led to us shooting nine free throws the first half, but didn’t get to the line once in the second half. We didn’t play well defensively, there just wasn’t the effort there that we had Thursday night at North. We shot 33 percent from the floor, but our shot selection wasn’t always the best.”
Deaton led the way with 10 points and 12 rebounds. Hunt added 8 points, 3 assists and 4 steals and Mize added 8 points and a pair of steals.
The Blazers (6-13, 5-6 Cross County Conference) was scheduled to host Eaton on Monday, Feb. 10 and Miami East on Tuesday.
Trail is scheduled to open tournament play on Monday, Feb. 17 at Tippecanoe High School against either No. 3 seed Anna or No. 12 seed Northridge. The game is scheduled to tip off at 6 p.m.