NEODESHA — The two-seed Girard Lady Trojans jumped out to a 15-0 lead just over three minutes into their game with the Neodesha Blue Streaks in the Wilson County Tournament, Monday night, and rode that early cushion to a comfortable 57-24 victory. Led on offense by Ashley Ray and Calea Augustin, who scored 12 and 12 respectively, and defensively by Sydnee Crain’s deft ability to steal the ball almost at will, Girard gave Neodesha few opportunities to climb back into the game. Next up for the Trojans is a matchup with the Caney Valley Bullpups Tuesday, in the round-robin formatted tournament.
The first quarter saw Girard try to get Ashley Ray going offensively. This plan worked well as Ray came out on fire from the floor, shooting 5-for-6 from the floor in the quarter. With the offense clicking early, the Trojans turned their sights to applying as much defensive pressure as possible, harassing the Blue Streaks on every possession. This also proved effective for Girard; they forced four turnovers in the first two minutes and ten total turnovers for the quarter, and held Neodesha scoreless for almost four minutes. Girard would go up 15-0 at one point before the Blue Streaks got on the board, and heading into the second, the Trojans were leading 19-9.
The second quarter was a showcase for both Sydnee Crain and Calea Augustin, but for different reasons. Crain would score six points in the first half, which would match the amount of steals she came up with in the first 16 minutes. She was almost single-handedly shutting down Neodesha’s offense, seemingly getting her hand on every ball and forcing the Blue Streaks coach to try numerous players to find one who could hold up to Crain’s defensive pressure.
Meanwhile, on the offensive end, Augustin came alive, scoring 8 points in the quarter, both on layups and mid-range jump shots. With the offense scoring almost at will and the defensive pressure frustrating Neodesha into well over 20 first-half turnovers, the Girard Trojans went into the locker room with a commanding 38-17 lead.
The one area of concern for Girard coach Brad Herlocker came in the third quarter, where his players were being whistled for a slew of fouls in rapid succession, leaving a number of his starters in foul trouble. This was a minor blip in an otherwise dominating game for the Trojans. Behind the six points in the quarter for Olivia Hanson, Girard was able to extend their huge lead even further, heading into the fourth up 49-21.
Trojans went up 30 points with just over six minutes to go, bringing the mercy-rule running clock into effect. Neodesha never got it going offensively all night, scoring only seven points after half. Girard won easily, 57-24.
Besides Ray and Augustin’s 12 points each, Olivia Hanson added 10 points, and Sydnee Crain added 9. Jacey Murphy chipped in 6 points as well.