NEW PARIS — National Trail’s boys’ varsity basketball team split a pair of Cross County Conference games last week. The Blazers are now 10-6 overall, 4-4 in the conference, with three straight CCC matchups scheduled.
The Blazers opened the week on Tuesday, Jan. 23, against the top team in the CCC, Bethel. The Bees are 10-0 in the CCC this season. The Blazers fell to Bethel on the road, 66-49.
NT stuck with Bethel early in the game, trailing by just two points at the end of the first quarter and eight points at halftime, 31-23. NT opened the third quarter with a 10-0 run to take 33-31 lead — but Bethel answered with 11-0 run to end the quarter up 42-33.
Bethel slowly increased their lead in the fourth quarter, on their way to the win.
“I was very pleased with how hard we competed for the entire 32 minutes,” Trail coach Mike Harrison said. “Our effort gave us a chance tonight. In the end, we shot only 32 percent from the floor again, were outrebounded 45-30, and they beat us to far too many ‘50-50’ balls, but that is what makes them so good.”
Zach Woodall led the Blazers with 12 points, 6 rebounds, 5 assists, and 5 steals. Dalton Mason had 12 points and 10 rebounds and Cameron Harrison, 10 points and 3 assists.
The Blazers traveled to Tri-Village and brought back a 66-50 win on Friday, Jan. 26. The Blazers used a 15-0 run in the fourth quarter to turn a close game into a convincing win.
The Blazers led most of the way after a close first quarter. They were ahead 40-29 in the third quarter when Tri-Village went on a 10-point run to close it to 40-39.
Early in the fourth with a 45-43 lead, NT went on the decisive 15-0 run and led 60-43 going into the last two minutes.
“Our energy and effort was great again, and it helped us offset some difficulties taking care of the ball (17 turnovers). It always helps to make shots and this was the first game in the last four that we were over 40 percent from the field. We were also able to get to the line 23 times and convert on 18 of them.”
Cameron Harrison led the way with 21 points. Travis Hunt had 16 points and 7 assists. Mason contributed 13 points and 12 rebounds and Woodall chipped in with 9 points and 3 assists.
National Trail is scheduled to play Newton (home) and Tri-County North (away) on back-to-back nights, Feb. 2-3.