IOLA — The Girard High School basketball teams closed out 2017 strong, taking two over Iola on Monday in the final games before Christmas break.
LADY TROJANS PUT AWAY MUSTANGS LATE
The Lady Trojans moved to 4-1 on the season with a 43-31 win over the Mustangs in the first game of the night.
Following a slow start to the game, Girard took control in the second half with six consecutive points in the early going of the third quarter before outsourcing Iola 12-6 in the final eight minutes of the contest.
“We came out really sluggish and didn’t play well in the first half,” GHS head coach Brad Herlocker said. “We didn’t execute our stuff and got out of position on defense. Offensively, our shots weren't falling and I think we let that affect every part of our game. In the second half, however, we turned it on a little and started playing better. We always play better when we play assignment basketball on defense.”
Both teams had a difficult time scoring the basketball early on, but GHS managed to jump out to a 9-3 lead with help from four points Brittley Bailey.
A pair of 3-pointers for the Mustangs tied the score at 9-all at the end of the first quarter, but a 6-2 run by the Lady Trojans to begin the second gave them a 15-11 advantage.
Iola climbed back to tie the score at 17-17 by halftime and took its first lead of the contest at 19-17 by scoring the first two points of the second half.
Girard regained the lead at 23-19, following six consecutive points scored by Sydnee Crain, Kalyn Flaharty and Bailey.
The Mustangs tied the score for the final time at 23-23 with back-to-back layups, but eight consecutive points by Crain gave the Lady Trojons a 31-25 advantage heading into the fourth quarter.
Crain kept the offensive momentum going, scoring four more points in what was a 10-1 run by GHS to put Iola away.
Crain finished the game as Girard’s leading scorer with 18 points, while Bailey contributed eights and Flaharty chipped in seven.
GIRARD BOYS EARN WIN WITH STRONG DEFENSE
The Girard boys’ team fell behind in the early going, but tightened the defense in the second half, holding the Mustangs scoreless in the third quarter en route to earning the 53-49 win.
GHS trailed by double digits with a minute remaining in the first half, before going on an 18-0 run which spanned nine minutes of game time to take a 37-29 advantage by the end of the third quarter.
The run was highlighted by six points from Ethan Goff and included four points apiece from Caleb Muia and Ryder Worrell.
Iola cut the deficit to 41-37 in the opening minutes of the fourth quarter, but five consecutive points by the Trojans gave them their largest lead of the game at 46-37 with just under three minutes remaining in regulation.
An old-fashioned 3-pointer for the Mustangs narrowed the gap to three points with 37 seconds remaining in regulation, but free throws converted by Evan Troike and Goff sealed the win.
Muia was the team leader in points with 18, followed by Troike with 13 points and Goff with 11.
Girard will host Parsons at 4:30 p.m. on Jan. 9.
— Jordan Buckamneer is the sports editor of the Pittsburg Morning Sun. E-mail him at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @jbuckamneer.