Coaches sometimes devolve into bromides in their post-game analysis, but when Trinity boss Mike Lang said, “It’s a total team victory,” it was both a comment from the Encyclopedia of Coaches Clichés and an accurate statement.
This is the way coaches love games to play out. Everyone who got a chance to play for the Trinity Lutheran girls basketball team Thursday afternoon did something special to aid the Cougars’ win.
The usual high scorers did their usual thing. The secondary scorers did their jobs. People off the bench came in and had a moment.
After a sloppy, desultory first half, the 1A Cougars gave themselves a Christmas present with a 50-40 victory over 3A North Harrison at Bollinger Athletic Complex, all of the differential accumulated in the second half.
This came after trailing 17-15 at the half to the 9-6 Lady Cats. The early stretch will not be used for either team’s instructional videos.
Lang consulted another book — his old playbook — to rouse his team.
The Cougars, now 8-3, reintroduced a play they regularly used with 6-foot-3 center Sydney Jaynes, now playing for Butler University, in recent years. It is as fundamental as it gets, a give-and-go.
Junior Bailey Tabeling, Trinity’s most prolific scorer, was often double-teamed. When the pass came to her in the corner at the beginning of the third quarter, instead of looking for a long-range shot, she fed a cutting Liza Froedge for two layups and did the same with Madison Keith.
Including a 3-pointer from Tabeling, Trinity ran off eight straight points and never trailed again.
Lang cited past experience with the play and said, “The post was going to be open and we got buckets out of it.”
Froedge led Trinity with 17 points. She probably made the fanciest shot of the day in the fourth quarter with a scoop from the base-line, an eye-opening play she couldn’t even describe because she didn’t remember it.
Teammate Katelyn Schepman, a forward who made two critical jumpers while Tabeling sat out a few minutes with four fouls, said Froedge’s shot “was pretty cool.” She said Froedge should watch it on the game film.
Trinity, which had a strain of the flu run through the team weakening players, was also recovering from a 64-34 Tuesday night loss to 10-1 Vincennes Rivet.
“We’re battling some illnesses and it was a great bounce back win,” Lang said of this one.
The Lady Cats, led by 6-foot-1 senior Diana Burgher with 15 points, made just 6 of 18 free throws, a killer deficit, especially after closing to 41-37 with 3 1/2 minutes to play. Right after that Froedge made her dipsy-doodle shot and she and Tabeling both scored again to expand the lead to 10 points with time running out.
Tabeling and Froedge are the usual Trinity big guns, but everyone who played contributed. Keith scored 9 points. Jordan Brewer came off the bench to nail a 3-pointer. Schepman’s jumpers were timely.
“You’ve just got to pick the moment,” Schepman said.
As in seize the moment.
“People came in for their short moment and did their thing,” Tabeling said.
Half by half, there were almost two different Cougar clubs on the court. First, Trinity was sluggish and the offense was not crisp. In the second half, the Cougars made free throws and shot better from the floor.
After a three-day practice break Trinity regroups for a New Year’s tournament and the second half of the season, as the girls state playoffs loom in February.
“Believe it or not,” Lang said, “it’s the stretch run.”