NEW PARIS — National Trail’s girls’ basketball team picked up a pair of non-league wins, with a league loss sandwiched in between last week.
The Blazers opened the week with a 46-25 win over visiting Dayton Christian on Tuesday, Nov. 30.
Seniors J’da Jackson and Skyler Ward paced the Blazers with 14 points each. Jackson added nine rebounds, while Ward added five rebounds, three assists and three steals.
“It was nice to win,” Trail coach James Byrd said. “We have a couple girls a little under the weather and so that kind of affected us. I thought we started out okay, we just missed a lot easy shots, a lot of easy shots. I’ll have to see what we’re from right around the basket, I know it wasn’t great. But I thought we did better in the third and fourth quarter. Defensively, I thought we sat down and just guarded them. We fouled a ton in the first half.”
Trail raced out to a 9-1 lead after the opening eight minutes and led 28-10 at the half.
Byrd praised the play of his two seniors.
”Skylar and J’da both got in foul trouble in the first half, so Skyler didn’t play a whole lot in the first half, at least it didn’t feel like it. So that’s obviously important for us,” he said. “But, I thought overall we did okay.”
Byrd felt his team shared the ball better in the second half.
”In the second half, I thought we moved the ball really well. We got really good shots in the second half and shared the ball really well, got shots that we wanted to,” he said. “We just got to be able to put them in.”
For the game, Trail was just 16-of-54 from the field, including going 3-for-15 from 3-point range.
Byrd credited Riley Minner for giving the team a spark.
”I thought we rebounded better in the second half. I thought Riley Minner, I don’t know how many rebounds she had, but I feel like she had 10 rebounds,” he said. “ It seemed like she got every ball that’s coming off there.”
Minner, who stands at 5 feet, 2 inches tall, collected eight rebounds on the night.
Byrd said Jackson’s energy level at the beginning of the game was key to the fast start.
”J’da’s energy wasn’t very good against North and I thought her energy was really, really good this game. We need that out of her all the time. That’s what I needed to see and she brought,” he said. “I thought that was important for us.”
On Thursday, Trail dropped a 35-25 decision to Bradford in a Western Ohio Athletic Conference game.
The Blazers fell behind 14-6 after one quarter and was down just 17-14 at the half. Trail managed just three points in the final quarter.
Ward finished with 16 points, four rebounds and four steals.
The Blazers closed out the week with a 62-12 win over visiting Belmont on Saturday.
Trail led 25-3 after one and was up 38-5 at halftime. They extended their lead to 48-7 after three quarters.
Jackson had 15 points and eight rebounds. Ward tossed in 15. Kendyl Johnson added eight points and six rebounds and Micaiah Byrd contributed seven points, seven rebounds and nine assists.
Trail (3-1, 1-1 WOAC) was scheduled to play at Northeastern (Ind.) on Tuesday, Dec. 7 and at Mississinawa Valley on Thursday, Dec. 9.
Reach Eddie Mowen Jr. at 937-683-4061 and follow on Twitter @emowenjr