For The Tribune
The Trinity Lutheran girls basketball team helped Mike Lang celebrate his 100th game as coach in grand style Thursday night with a 62-50 win against Rising Sun in the Bollinger Athletic Complex.
Lang is in his fifth season as the Cougars’ coach and has compiled a record of 67-33.
“It’s a great win,” he said. “We’ve been blessed with good kids here. They work hard, and hopefully I’m around to see another 100.”
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The Cougars held a 45-42 lead entering the fourth quarter, then scored the first basket of the period on a 12-foot jumper by Maddie Roark.
The Shiners were unable to tie the score, although they trailed 47-45 and 49-47 before Jodi Goecker and Roark scored back-to-back field goals to make it 53-47 with 4:06 remaining.
Kelsey Romans hit her third 3-pointer on Rising Sun’s next possession, but that would be her team’s final points as the Cougars finished on a 9-0 run.
“We really didn’t do anything special,” Lang said of the fourth quarter. “Our game plan going into this was to create an up-tempo game and to make them play the way they’re not used to playing.
“We want to stay as aggressive as we can, but unfortunately foul trouble dictates that when you have to start making your substitutions.”
The Cougars began applying defensive pressure full court from the start, and it resulted in nine turnovers for the Shiners and an 18-8 lead for the home team. Roark took advantage of the turnovers and the extra possessions for her team by hitting a 3-pointer, four deuces and a free throw for 12 points in the first period.
“They’re more of a grind-it-out, half-court offensive team, and our goal going into tonight was to get between 80 and 85 possessions,” Lang said. “We knew midway through the third and in the fourth quarters they would start wearing down, and that’s what happened.”
Trinity was unable to hold that lead, however, as the Shiners moved on top 24-22 on a basket by Danyk Groover with three minutes left in the second quarter.
The Cougars finished strong on a 7-5 run to drew even at 29 at the break.
Trinity shot 17 for 54 and finished with 12 turnovers, while the Shiners were 17 for 46 and had 20 turnovers.
“I can’t say our half-court offense was great,” Lang said. “We still made some silly passes. They were aggressive in their zone coming out. We got a lot of points in transition tonight, and that is something we’ve been working on a lot in practice the past week, playing fast, getting in transition and go to the line.”
Lang credited seniors Anne Franke and Miranda Murphy for playing big minutes off the bench.
“In the second half I was so proud of the way Anne Franke and Miranda Murphy came off the bench,” Lang said. “They were really the glue to what we did in the fourth quarter — Miranda being at the top of the 1-3-1 and causing bad passes for them and Anne in the post keeping Tiffany Vinup from scoring.”
Roark topped the Cougars (6-2) with 26 points, while Goecker scored 11, and Abby Hackman tallied 10 and had nine rebounds.
Lucy Carrigan topped the Shiners (4-5) with 21 points.