NEW LEBANON — The National Trail girls’ basketball team turned the ball over 17 times in the first half, leading to a 42-41 loss to Dixie on Tuesday, Nov. 24. The team fell to 0-2 on the season.
After a slow start, the Blazers rallied when Payten Laird hit a three with 30 seconds, reaming to cut the Greyhound lead to one.
Dixie missed the front end of the one-and-one and Laird secured the rebound for the Blazers. The Blazers missed the first shot, and the put-back that would have given the lead to the visitors, before the ball went out of bounds to Dixie.
The Greyhounds turned the ball over on the ensuing in-bounds pass, but National Trail was unable to find the bucket at the end of the game, resulting in a one point loss for the Blazers.
Laird finished the game with 18 points, eight rebounds and two steals to lead the Blazers.
The Blazers started the game down 11-4 after the first quarter and spent the remainder of the game battling back.
“We didn’t have the necessary energy either in the first half,” head coach Troy Ferguson said. “We were too flat, that’s on me — I have to do a better job of getting our kids ready to go from the tip.”
The Blazers turned the ball over 25 times in the game, with 11 coming in the first quarter.
The teams tied the second quarter, each scoring 12 points, and Dixie held a 23-16 lead heading into the break.
The Blazers however came out to start the second half strong and get back into the game. “We had much better energy — we got after it on defense and starting to take care of the ball,” Ferguson said. “We did a better job defensively of keeping the ball in front of us, and contesting shots that we didn’t in the first half.”
The Blazers led after three quarters, 31-29.
After shooting 25 percent from the field in the first half, the team found the shooting touch in the second half, shooting 40 percent from the field but the first half deficit proved too much to overcome in the end.
JaLynn Byrd finished with eight points, three rebounds and two steals, while freshman Evan Byrd finished with seven points, four rebounds and two assists.
“We have to put it together for four quarters at both ends of the floor,” Ferguson said about his team moving forward. “We’ve been talking a lot about how every possession both offensively and defensively has to be important. When we start doing that, we will be capable of doing good things.”
National Trail travels to Newton on Tuesday, Dec. 1. The team hosts Twin Valley South on Thursday, Dec. 3 and travels to Northeastern to close the week on Saturday, Dec. 5.
Reach Austin Schmidt at 937-683-4062 or on Twitter @aschmidt_RH.