Blazers upset F-M, 50-45

By Eddie Mowen Jr. -

NEW PARIS — Behind a career-high 23-point performance from junior JaLynn Byrd, National Trail’s girls’ basketball team notched a 50-45 upset of Franklin-Monroe in a Cross County Conference game on Saturday, Jan. 21.

In a game that was back and forth throughout, the Lady Blazers took a six-point lead midway through the fourth quarter and never trailed again. The lead was extended to eight on a pair of JaLynn Byrd free throws with six seconds left.

The Jets’ Audrey Cable banked in a 3-pointer at the buzzer to make the final margin five.

“I thought we did a better job defensively, especially in the second half. We handled their pressure well and had 13 assists on 16 made field goals, so we were able to get better shots and in turn shoot a little better percentage-wise,” Trail coach Troy Ferguson said. “It was a good win for us over a much-improved FM team that came in 11-4 and 6-2 in the league, so to get this one was good for our kids and we will hope to continue that momentum into the stretch run of the season here.”

With the win, the Lady Blazers improve to 8-7 on the season and 3-4 in the CCC and drop FM to 11-5 and 6-3 in league play.

In addition to JaLynn Byrd’s 23, Payten Laird scored 10, Makena Laird had six, Savanna Abner added five, Davlyn Werner had four and Evan Byrd finished with two. Audrey Cable led the way for FM with 17 points.

JaLynn Byrd also had four rebounds, three steals and a pair of assists. Werner added four steals and three assists, while Abner and Payten Laird each had six rebounds.

Trail opened the week with a 40-32 loss, at home, to Arcanum on Tuesday.

A strong defensive effort wasn’t enough to overcome a cold shooting night for the Blazers.

Payten Laird led the way for Trail with 12 points and five rebounds, JaLynn Byrd scored seven, Evan Byrd had six points and five rebounds, Makena Laird added five and Abner chipped in two.

“I was really pleased with our effort. Arcanum is one of the top teams in our league and can score in a lot of ways, I thought defensively we played well,” Ferguson said. “Offensively, we struggled to hit some open shots, and I really thought it was just a matter of they made more of those shots than we did.”

On Thursday, the Blazers fell 47-42 to visiting Ansonia.

“We allowed 20 offensive rebounds, giving them 16 second chance points,” Ferguson said. “We just didn’t meet their effort level. Our defensive rotations were slow and that led to us being out of position a lot and allowing those rebounds, or led to us fouling. Add to that only shooting 29 percent and it was just not a good night for us.”

Payten Laird paced Trail with 13 points and Makena Laird added 11 points and 11 rebounds.

Trail was scheduled to play at Preble Shawnee on Tuesday, Jan. 24. On Thursday, the Blazers are scheduled to play at Bethel.

By Eddie Mowen Jr.

Reach Eddie Mowen Jr. at 937-683-4056 or on Twitter @emowen_RH.

Reach Eddie Mowen Jr. at 937-683-4056 or on Twitter @emowen_RH.