FREDONIA — For the third consecutive year, the Girard High School girls’ basketball team was crowned Wilson County Classic champions after defeating Cherryvale 60-34 on Saturday.
The win came on the strength of a second-half surge in which the Lady Trojans held the Chargers to three points in the third quarter.
“A week ago, we were definitely in a valley,” GHS head coach Brad Herlocker said. “We knew we didn’t play up to our potential against Pittsburg. So, to come to the Wilson County Classic and string three solid performances together really boosted the confidence of our girls and it’s just a great thing.”
Girard was led by Sydnee Crain throughout the weekend, as she posted a combined 85 points in three games en route to surpassing the 1,000-point mark for her high school career and came two points shy from tying the tournament record for points scored.
“Sydnee is a kid who, if not for being on a team with many talented players, would have gotten to 1,000 points a season or two ago,” Herlocker said. “She was just always on a talented team, so accomplishing this later in her career speaks to her as a player. She was always willing to pass first and fulfill the role of our point guard the past three seasons. So, for her to be able to surpass 1,000 points now is a special honor for her personally and a tribute to her teammates who graduated in previous seasons.”
Crain along with Jacey Murphy and Jaada Valley earned spots on the All-Tournament team for outstanding play throughout the weekend.
“Sydnee had a really special tournament, but Jaada Valley did as well,” Herlocker said. “Jaada has shown all season long in practice the potential to play as well as she did each night throughout this tournament.”
“Jacey’s first full game back from injury was against Pittsburg, so now she’s now gotten back into rhythm,” Herlocker said. “She’s one of our vocal leaders on the court and I think she’s really responsible for the younger players stepping up. I would also like to mention Gabbi Sands, who stepped up and hit a few shots from deep which makes us pretty difficult to guard.”
Cherryvale jumped out to an early 7-0 lead in the opening minutes of the championship game, but nine consecutive points for Crain put Girard up 11-10.
The Chargers went on to regain the lead at 13-11 by the end of the first quarter, before the Lady Trojans regained control with a 9-1 run in the second to put them back on top 24-18 at the half.
The run was highlighted by a 3-pointer by Crain which gave her 1,002 career points.
Girard pulled away in the second half, out scoring the Chargers 14-3 in the third and cruising to the win in the fourth.
“Hopefully, this win sets us up well to begin league play again,” Herlocker said. “The CNC is a tough league, but I feel confident in our team. Early on, we felt a little out of control with all of the injuries, so now that we’re healthy again, I’m just really pleased with this tournament and the effort our girls gave each night.”
Crain led the way on offense, posting 25 points in the win.
Sands also had a big hand in the win, scoring 15 points of her own.
Prior to the win on Saturday, the Lady Trojans earned a 76-58 win over Bluestem in the semi-finals.
Crain lifted Girard to its championship bid with a career-high 34 points.
Valley was also an instrumental part in the offense with 19 points
GIRARD BOYS TAKE THIRD
After losing to Caney 66-59 on Friday, the Girard boys’ team bounced back with a 71-53 win over Cherryvale on Saturday to claim third place.
The Trojans took control of the contest in the early going and pulled away in the second half by out scoring the Chargers 22-10 in the third quarter.
The win came on the strength of 30 points from Caleb Muia and also included 12 points from Evan Troike.
Muia’s 30-point game came on the heels of scoring 31 points on Friday in the loss to Caney.
Girard will host Baxter at 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday.
— Jordan Buckamneer is the sports editor of the Pittsburg Morning Sun. E-mail him at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @jbuckamneer.