CROTHERSVILLE — Kevin Hensley says it is going to take an extremely talented girls basketball team to beat the Trinity Lutheran Cougars this season.
“Their first five have so much experience under their belt. It showed tonight, and we looked like deer in headlights. We were a little scared there at first,” the Crothersville coach said after the Cougars left the Tigers’ den with a 55-25 win Saturday night.
The game between the Jackson County teams was decided early as the visitors scored the first 16 points of the game. Liza Froedge’s layup with 1:55 remaining in the first period made the score 16-0.
Zoe Spangler finally lit up Crothersville’s side of the scoreboard with a layup at 1:02 before the Cougars added a layup by Katelyn Schepman and a 3-pointer by Kailene Cockerham to make it 21-2 heading into the second quarter.
Cockerham had the hot hand for the Cougars in the opening period with 9 points, while Madison Keith made sure Trinity’s offense stayed hot as she scored the Cougars’ first 8 points of the second period.
Cockerham, Keith and Froedge each finished with 12 points, and Froedge topped the Cougars with 6 rebounds.
Trinity held a 41-7 lead at the half, and when Bailey Tabeling made a steal and drove for a layup early in the third period the 35-point mercy rule went into effect.
The IHSAA installed a 35-point rule this season when one team gains a 35-point lead a running clock goes into effect, so the remainder of the game was played with a running clock.
Trinity held a 55-11 lead after three periods.
None of the Trinity starters played in the fourth quarter, and all 12 of the girls that dressed for the game saw playing time.
Trinity coach Mike Lang said, “We got to get some of the younger kids a lot of minutes out there tonight. We’ve got some kids that are going to be able to help us as the season moves along, but more importantly we were able to get everybody a whole lot of minutes. It was a good night.”
The Cougars are ranked No. 3 in Class 1A in one pre-season poll.
Lang said he likes the progress he has seen.
“We’re not exactly where we need to be yet, but we’re getting there,” Lang said. “I think we’re trying to establish a little bit more depth onto the bench. Our first five has come out and done a really nice job of attacking and moving the ball.”
The Cougars forced 10 turnovers and were able to convert six layups in the first period.
“We talked about our defense creating offense,” Lang added. “We talked about if there is one thing the other team can’t control it’s going to be our effort and our intensity. That’s what we wanted to do, come out tonight and they did a nice job of that.”
Hensley said, “I’m trying to get some of these girls that haven’t got any basketball experience, or knowledge of the game, caught up to where I need them so they can help us next year.”
The Tigers (0-4) will travel to West Washington Tuesday night and will host Columbus Christian on Saturday.
Hensley said, “We need to work more on our offense. We need to have more fight. We did in the second half. The first half we had no fight. And, we need to be more patient. We were going too fast in the first half. When we go too fast we turn it over and they get layups.”
The Tigers had 18 of their 23 turnovers in the first half. Trinity had 10 turnovers for the game.
Spangler and Kennadi Lakins had 10 points each from the Tigers, and Lakins had 6 rebounds.
Trinity (2-0) will travel to Providence Tuesday and to Southwestern (Shelby) on Saturday.