NEW PARIS — National Trail’s boys’ varsity basketball team carried the momentum from a pair of wins in their opening weekend to its opening Cross County Conference game against Arcanum. The Blazers used a big third quarter to put away Arcanum and claim a 60-41 win on Friday, Dec. 8.
The CCC win pushed the Blazers’ record to 3-0 to start the season.
National Trail opened with an eight point lead at the end of the first period. Arcanum kept the game close, however, and pulled to within five at halftime, 28-23.
In the third period, the Blazers stretched the lead to double-digits, outscoring Arcanum 18-9.
“We played a pretty complete game,” coach Mike Harrison said. “We shot close to 50 percent from the field and handed out 17 assists on the night while only committing 7 turnovers.”
The Blazers also dominated the board, out-rebounding Arcanum, 31-17.
“I thought we did a good job limiting the looks of Arcanum’s Carter Gray, which was the key priority for us defensively.”
Stats include: Cameron Harrison 24 points and 4 assists; Travis Hunt 15 points and 4 assists; Dalton Mason 10 points and 8 rebounds; and Hunter Michael grabbed 5 rebounds (in limited action in his first game of the season following elbow injury.)
On Saturday, National Trail traveled to Preble Shawnee to take on the Arrows, 2-0 to start the season.
The Blazers struggled initially in this one as Preble Shawnee jumped out early and led 23-7 lead midway through the second quarter. The Blazers found themselves down 14 points at the half, 29-15.
NT outscored the Arrows in the second half, but could not make up the deficit, dropping their first game of the season, 52-42.
“Preble Shawnee is quick, aggressive, and talented, and we just did not respond like we needed to tonight, especially in the early going.” Harrison explained. “Turnovers, poor shot selection, and slowly-rotating defense, all things we had done a pretty good job of in the first 3 games, haunted us in the first half.
“I thought we continued to fight and compete but unfortunately the hole we dug ourselves in to was just too deep.”
National Trail was able to cut the lead to eight early in the fourth quarter, and then got within seven at 47-40 with 50 seconds left, but were not able to get any closer.
After shooting nearly 50 percent in their previous game, the Blazers shot season low 29 percent from the floor. They were also outscored 36-16 “in the paint”, Harrison added.
Individual stats include: Cameron Harrison 16 points; and Zach Woodall 13 points.
National Trail is set to travel to Twin Valley South on Friday, Dec. 15, and then host Centerville (Indiana) the following evening.