The Trinity Lutheran girls basketball team proved the stronger team in a 56-38 victory against Shawe Memorial on Tuesday at the Bollinger Athletic Complex.
The Cougars came out with a solid second half against the Hilltoppers, outscoring their opponents 33-20 in the closing quarters.
That effort was led by sophomore Maddie Roark, who scored a team-high 28 points with 10 of those points coming from the free throw line and sophomore Abby Hackman who had 12 rebounds.
The game started with a close opening quarter as both teams went back-and-forth in scoring.
The Hilltoppers got to a quick 4-0 start, but the Cougars bounced back and held a 6-4 lead midway through the first quarter. The opening quarter ended with the Cougars on top 14-11.
The Cougars then built on their lead with a strong start to the second quarter as they opened up with an 8-0 run. That run was ended when Shawe junior Megg Hensler hit a three-pointer to bring the score to 22-14 in favor of the Cougars.
The Hilltoppers then stole the ball and took the ball down court, allowing junior Claire Higgins — who led the team with 10 points — to score on an easy lay in.
Roark responded with a 3-pointer of her own, and Shawe Memorial scored the last three points of the quarter. The half closed with the Cougars up 25-19.
The start of the third quarter had some balance with both teams jumping on early runs.
The Cougars outscored the Hilltoppers 11-8 in the third, bringing the score to 36-27 heading into the final eight minutes.
The fourth quarter started with back-and-forth shooting, and it appeared as though Shawe was going to come after the Cougars’ lead when they went after a loose ball from sophomore Jodi Geocker.
Geocker had other plans as she saved a possession by diving on the floor to force the ball to Roark, who passed it to Hackman who made an easy layup.
The Cougars then forced a turnover and gave the ball back to Hackman who scored another layup to bring the score to 42-31.
Those two plays stopped all momentum for the Hilltoppers, and the Cougars were able to close the game.
Cougars coach Mike Lang said the team’s defensive effort held the Hilltoppers at bay and helped the team secure the win.
“We’ve had a concentrated effort on our defense, and last practice we came in more defensive-minded and wanted to take their shooters away from them, and I think we did a pretty good job of that,” he said, adding that Higgins and Hensler were both solid shooters. “Both of them can go off with big numbers at any time, and we wanted to stay were the shooters were.”
Lang said he was pleased with the way the team executed the defensive plan from practice.
“I’m really proud of them — a defensive-minded effort, and we’ll take it,” he said.