DAYTON — A fourth-quarter comeback attempt by National Trail fell short as the Blazers’ season came to an end against Milton-Union 45-35 in the Division III Sectional Tournament on Saturday, Feb. 13.
Down 34-19, a three-point buzzer beater by junior J’da Jackson as the third quarter expired kick-started a 10-0 run for the Blazers that lasted nearly five minutes.
Milton-Union responded with two successful trips to the free throw line to make it 38-29, but a trio of quick baskets by Jackson and junior Skyler Ward made it a five-point game, 40-35, with under a minute remaining.
Despite bridging the gap, Trail was forced to foul the Bulldogs as time ran down, and Milton-Union was able to close things out at the free-throw line 45-35.
Trail struggled offensively in the early minutes of the game, falling behind 11-3 before capitalizing on a pair of baskets from senior Angel Bowers and sophomore Rylee Minner to make it 11-7 entering the second quarter.
“We were getting good shots but just not knocking them down,” Trail coach James Byrd said.
Those offensive issues persisted as the Blazers scored just two points in the second quarter via a basket from junior Jenna Petitt with 1:15 remaining.
The Bulldogs were mostly held in check with just eight points in the second quarter, but given Trail’s lack of scoring, Milton-Union was able to take a 19-9 lead into the half.
Milton-Union continued to pile on in the third quarter, beginning the second half with an 8-0 run to make it 27-11, eventually increasing that lead to 33-15.
The Blazers had five trips to the foul line during the third quarter, making 6-of-9 shots to cut it to 34-19 before Jackson’s buzzer beater.
Jackson led the Blazers with 13 points followed by junior Caitlin Gilland with six points. Ward finished with five points followed by Minner with four points and senior Molly Skinner with three points. Bowers and Petitt each finished with two points.
“It was an up and down season but a successful one as a whole. We will miss this group of seniors for their play, leadership, and character,” Byrd said. “Molly, Caitlin, Lexi [Benedict], and Angel are all great kids and will be hard to replace.”
Reach Braden Moles at 937-683-4056 or on Twitter @BradenMoles