LEWISBURG — The National Trail Blazers showed just how much they have improved this season when the team avenged an earlier loss to Tri-County North with a 43-30 victory on Saturday, Feb. 6.
The Blazers got off to a hot start when Jacob Hurd was substituted early and started the Blazers off by making two threes to start the game. Trail quickly took a 6-2 lead and put the pressure on the hosting Panthers from the early moments of the game.
The Blazers led nearly the entire game, taking a 12-7 lead after the first quarter. They used a strong defensive effort throughout the game, holding the Panthers to just 16 first half points.
Entering halftime, the Blazers led 22-16. The Blazer offense heated up in the third and put the game out of reach heading into the fourth by grabbing a 37-21 lead.
Tri-County North had defeated National Trail 64-62 earlier in the season.
Hurd scored 11 in the contest, including three threes, while Dalton Mason led with 13 points. Weston Haws also scored nine in the contest as the Blazers committed a season-low seven turnovers.
“I really have been pleased with our improvement for most of the year,” head coach Mike Harrison said, despite a recent stretch of poor games. “But unfortunately we had strung some sub-par outings together so Saturday night it was very nice to come out and play well.”
Harrison also talked about the lift his team got from Hurd.
“Jacob Hurd came in and knocked down three threes that gave us a big lift,” he said.
On Tuesday Feb. 2, the Blazers traveled to Eaton and fell, 63-53.
The Blazers led early, taking a 11-10 lead after the first quarter, but the Eagle offense exploded for 23 second-quarter points to take a 10-point lead heading into the break.
The Eagles lead was 18 heading into the fourth, 47-29.
Mason had 17 points and seven rebounds. Chase Thompson scored 13 points, all in the fourth quarter and Kaleb Deardorff scored eight points and led with 11 rebounds.
On Friday, Feb. 5, the Blazers saw a “horrendous” third quarter derail a chance to pick up a Cross County Conference win against Franklin Monroe.
Trail found itself playing from behind most of the game, with Franklin Monroe taking a 14-7 lead after the first quarter. The lead was nine at half with the visitors leading 31-22.
The Blazers were still in the game, but turnovers quickly took away any opportunity for a win.
In the third quarter, Franklin Monroe scored 16 points off turnovers, compared to zero for the Blazers.
The final score was 67-38. Mason scored 14 and pulled down seven rebounds. Thompson scored eight and grabbed six rebounds.
The Blazers travel to Bradford on Tuesday, Feb. 9, and end the season by hosting Arcanum on Friday, Feb. 12, where senior Dylan Haas will play in his final home game.
Reach Austin Schmidt at 937-683-4062 or on Twitter at aschmidt_RH.