NEW PARIS — James Byrd was ready to see how his team was going to respond coming off a 40-point loss to state-ranked Tri-Village the previous game.
The National Trail girls’ basketball coach got his answer as his team rebounded with a solid 52-48 win over visiting Preble Shawnee on Tuesday, Jan. 21.
“I thought it was a good win. That was the way I was hoping we would come out and respond after the Tri-Village game. I thought our energy was pretty dead at first then they started to pick it up,” he said.
The Blazers overcame multiple six-point deficits in the second half including late in third quarter (39-33) to earn the win.
Trail used a 7-0 run over the final two minutes of the third quarter to grab the lead for good at 40-39.
The Blazers extended their lead to 47-41 with just under three minutes to play in the game.
Shawnee closed to within two twice in the final minute and had a chance to tie, but turned the ball over with seconds remaining.
“I thought the fourth quarter we played really, really well. I thought Makena (Laird) stepped up big. Obviously, defensively I thought we were pretty good the whole way. I thought we competed. We got a close win against a good team,” Byrd said. “I thought everybody made plays. I thought every girl that touched the floor did a lot of good things. That’s what I wanted and we were able to make the plays down the stretch that we needed to make.”
Trail was led by senior Makena Laird’s 19 points. She scored 13 in the second half. Senior Davlyn Werner added nine, with seven coming in the second half.
Nine players scored for Trail.
“It was really a solid team win,” Byrd said.
For Shawnee coach Kevin Schaeffer, whose team led 28-23 at the half, it was a repeat of how the season has gone for his.
“It is what it is,” he said. “Close game, late. We do the same thing we’ve been doing all year. The story was turnovers in the second half. We just kept turning the ball over. Our defensive effort wasn’t bad. But when we panic on this end (offensive) of the floor there’s nothing our defense can do about a transition or a foul shot that they take.”
He said his team was unable to maintain its momentum in the second half.
“The first two quarters roughly we were moving the ball. We were getting it inside and going back outside with it. We were having success. None of our shots were forced. We had very few turnovers. And when the second half rolls around we get in (panic) mode and that’s the story of us all year,” he said. “It was a totally different team in the second half and it was because we were panicky. They didn’t do anything different. They ran a little bit of zone. They ran man in both halves and the first half we dealt with it fine and there were no problems at all and the second half we didn’t.”
The Arrows were led by senior Abby Elam and freshman Campbell Jewell’s 13 points apiece. Sophomore Gracie Lovely added eight and freshman Liv Thompson contributed seven points.
The Arrows (8-11) will be back in action on Saturday, Feb, 1 at Northridge.
Trail is scheduled to travel to Dixie on Thursday, Jan. 30 and will host Stivers on Saturday, Feb. 1.
Reach Eddie Mowen Jr. at 937-683-4056 or follow on Twitter @emowen_RH