Thus far into the 2017-18 season, Trinity Lutheran’s girls basketball team hasn’t lost to a Class A school.
The Class A No. 8 Cougars (8-1) won a sixth straight game Thursday, defeating Rising Sun 51-29 at the Bollinger Athletic Complex.
The program’s off to its best start in school history, and hasn’t lost since Nov. 14 (against Brownstown Central).
Defense led to offense throughout the game for the Cougars.
Trinity’s press staggered the Shiners in the opening half.
In the first quarter, the Cougars didn’t give up a single point.
Savannah Harweger hit back-to-back baskets, Sydney Jaynes sank four free throws and Piper Acton got a jumper to fall to put the Cougars up 10-0 with 2:58 on the clock.
Following an and-one by Harweger, Maddie Bell drilled a 3-pointer to extend Trinity’s lead to 16.
Jaynes and Abby Hackman each got baskets to go to put the Cougars up 20-0 by the end of eight minutes of play.
The Cougars held the Shiners scoreless until 4:47 remained in the half, when Emma Levi converted an and-one to stop the bleeding at 22-3.
While the Cougars’ offense struggled in the second quarter, the defense still stood tall.
Harweger added four more points before the break, as the Cougars led 28-7 at half.
The Shiners shot just 17 percent in the first half and Trinity shot 25 percent from the field on 40 attempts.
Trinity built its lead to 34-9 by the 5:37-mark in the third quarter on baskets from Hackman, Acton and Jaynes.
In the final 5:09 in the third quarter, the Cougars scored only three points while the Shiners added eight.
At the end of 24 minutes of play, the Cougars led 37-21.
While the team held a substantial lead, Trinity coach Mike Lang thought the team should of performed better in the third quarter.
“When you start 22-0, the kids start to play the scoreboard a little bit,” Lang said. “I thought we got a little sluggish. We got out of what got us to a lead, the press, and we went to a man-to-man defense. We lost our intensity a little bit, and we challenged them at half time. We wanted to not be satisfied with that big lead.”
Lucy Carrigan came out of the half fired up for the Shiners, scoring 10 points in the third quarter.
While the Shiners battled, Trinity’s lead never faltered.
The Cougars outscored the Shiners 14-8 in the final eight minutes to hold on for the win.
Jaynes topped the Cougars with 16 points, Harweger added 11 and Acton had 10. Carrigan led the Shiners with 20 points.
“(Carrigan) just knows how to get to the basket,” Lang said. “I don’t think there’s a school in southern Indiana she wouldn’t start for. She’s a heck of a player.”
The Cougars finished near 29 percent shooting for the game.
Trinity out-rebounded Rising Sun 40-28, led by 16 boards from Hackman and 15 by Jaynes.
“(Hackman) was a workload on the boards,” Lang said. “We challenged her before the game to get 15 (rebounds). She worked her butt off.”
The Cougars had 20 turnovers to the Shiners’ 28 giveaways.
Lang said he wants to see continued growth on the defensive side of the ball.
“We’re going to be able to score our points, but during tournament time defense will win a championship,” Lang said. “We need to get things done on the defensive end. Our goal, before the game, was to hold them under 30.
“At the end of the day you can’t complain because (we) finished on the right side of the scoreboard.”
The Cougars will host Orleans on Saturday.