For the Tribune
In their first three games of the season the Trinity Lutheran girl’s basketball team has played some good competition but lost all three matchups.
On Saturday night, Southwestern (Shelbyville) paid a visit to the Bollinger Athletic Complex.
The Spartans led early and often, but the Cougars took a lead late in the third quarter and were able to hold on and secure the 64-60 win to move to 1-3 on the year.
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Trinity Lutheran coach Mike Lang was happy to get the team’s first win of the year.
“The first win is always the sweetest,” Lang said. “We don’t want to use the excuse that we are young, but we had a lot of kids step up today. Sydney (Stuckwisch) was a workhorse down low and Kaitlyn (Wright) came in off the bench and hit a couple of big shots for us.
“Sometimes all you have to do is get that first win to get these young kids believing they can play and win.”
After Stuckwisch hit a runner in the lane at the 6:51 mark to tie the game at 2-2, the Spartans scored the next five points to take a 7-2 lead. Angi Bergstedt knocked down a free throw to end the 5-0 streak and Hailley Peters hit a shot to make it 9-5.
Maddie Roark scored and Miranda Murphy hit a free throw with 32 seconds left in the first quarter to tie the game at 11-11, but the Spartans hit a free throw with less than a second to go to take the 12-11 lead.
The Spartans had a two-point lead early in the second quarter, but Wright hit a 3-pointer at the 7:04 mark to give the Cougars their first lead of the game at 14-13. Murphy hit a basket to make it 16-13, but the Spartans used a 10-0 run to take a 23-16 lead and led 30-24 at the break.
The Cougars hit 3 of 11 from the free throw line and had 14 turnovers in the first half.
“We were not getting our feet set,” Lang said. “That is something we have been talking about everyday in getting our feet set. I keep telling them to not rush anything and to pull the ball back out.”
The Spartans opened up a 36-29 lead, but Roark hit a lay-up and Piper Acton hit three free throws to make it 36-34. After Brooke Ezell hit a free throw for the Spartans, Roark hit her second basket of the third quarter and Angi Bergstedt scored to give the Cougars the lead for good at the 4:29 mark at 38-37.
“That’s a part of having young kids is they don’t understand everything they have to be doing,” Lang said. “They don’t need to rush everything, and in the third quarter I thought we settled down and found a rhythm. We found our offense and didn’t have as many turnovers in the second half as we did in the first half. It showed with a 24-point quarter.”
Acton took a pass from Roark and laid the ball in for two points and Roark hit a 3-pointer to make it 43-37. After the Spartans made it 45-42, Roark hit another 3-pointer to give the Cougars the 48-42 lead after three quarters.
The Spartans outscored the Cougars 18-16 in the fourth quarter, but couldn’t over the deficit and the Cougars took the win.
Roark led all scorers with 25 points and Acton chipped in 14. The Cougars also won the battle of the boards (51-35) as Stuckwisch pulled down a game-high 17 rebounds and Peters collected 11 rebounds.
The Cougars will host Medora on Thursday night.