By Josh Brown
Troy Daily News
TROY — The Troy Christian girls basketball team may have gotten the new season off to a late start.
But after their opener, the Eagles appear to be ahead of the curve.
Taking on a Southeastern team that took it to overtime last year, Troy Christian began Monday’s season opener on a 16-1 run and shut out the Trojans in the third quarter, using a dominant defensive effort to seal a 49-19 victory at the Eagles’ Nest.
“I think we did a great job on the defensive end,” Troy Christian coach Tony Ferraro said. “We got in their kitchen, so to speak. We didn’t let them make that first pass and over-played them, and when they did try to lob the ball, we’re just too big inside, so we had a lot of steals tonight.”
That smothering defense prevented Southeastern (1-2) from hitting any field goals in the first quarter, scoring any points in the third and forced them into 26 turnovers in the game.
That’s the kind of pressure we want to put on people,” Ferraro said. “It’s going to be difficult to make that pass from point A to point B and then from point B to point C because we really get after it on that end of the floor.
“And, a good defense can create offense. You’ll notice that we’ll bring the ball down the floor after steals, and we’ll get a good shot every time.”
And the Eagles (1-0) used that transition game to take charge early, scoring 15 unanswered points to close out the first quarter with a 16-1 lead, capped off by a Sydney Taylor layup at the buzzer. Southeastern didn’t hit a field goal until the 7:10 mark of the second quarter when Emily Wical scored on a putback. Back-to-back 3s got the Trojans as close as 10 points at 19-9, but Erin Schenk hit a pair of free throws, Taylor put back her own miss and Chelsea Baker scored on a putback to put Troy Christian up 25-9, and the Eagles led 26-13 at halftime.
When Southeastern did get shots off against Troy Christian’s defense, they were either rushed from the outside or altered or blocked in the paint by the Eagles’ taller players inside. And in the end, the Eagles held a 33-24 rebounding advantage
“I also think we closed out well, too. If we close out well, we’re going to outrebound most teams,” Ferraro said. “We have some kids that like to go after it, know how to box out and know how to go get the ball — and then we try to run every time we get a rebound.”
In the end, Troy Christian outscored Southeastern 13-0 in the third quarter to take a 39-13 lead and put the game firmly out of reach and closed things out from there.
And the Eagles did so with a very balanced offensive effort. Sydney Taylor led the way with 11 points, four rebounds and three assists, Sarah Earhart had nine points and five rebounds and Schenk added nine points, Chelsea Baker had six points and five rebounds, Megan Baker had five points and seven rebounds, Sarah Johnson had five points and Morgan Taylor had four points, six rebounds and four assists.
“That’s an excellent job by our assistant coaches,” Ferraro said. “Every day in practice, they’re saying that we’ve got to make sure everybody gets a touch and everybody gets a shot up. And when you have balanced scoring, they can’t take away one or two kids, because if they try to, we’re going to hit the open person. And I thought we did a good job of that.”
Lily Bertemes and Kelsey Vollrath each scored five points for the Trojans, Peyton Isaac added four points, Tatum Monahan scored three and Wical finished with two.
And while the Eagles seem to be ahead of last year’s pace already, Ferraro knows the team still has some things to work on as it heads into its second game Saturday against Covington — a team that defeated Troy Christian by three last year.
“I was not pleased all four quarters with our half-court offense. That’s something we’ll really have to work on,” Ferraro said. “But sometimes you’ve got to give the other team credit. They (Southeastern) scouted us during the summer, they knew what we liked to do and they took away a lot of things in our half-court offense. We’ve got to learn to make better adjustments, and that’s on me. I’ve got to make sure that I make better adjustments, because Saturday we’re at Covington, and Covington’s got a great basketball team.”
Contact Troy Daily News Sports Editor Josh Brown at email@example.com, or follow @TroyDailySports on Twitter.
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