When Bailey Tabeling left Saturday’s basketball game with just over two minutes remaining, she said it was a special feeling because it would be the final time she would leave the floor in the Bollinger Athletic Complex.
The Trinity Lutheran fans gave her a standing ovation, and her teammates and coaches gave her hugs for her outstanding career at the school.
“It was a big moment,” she said. “Your last (volleyball and basketball) games at home your senior year are pretty big. To be able to go undefeated (10-0) at home all season was a big deal for us in general.
“It was big to get all those JV girls in,” Tabeling said. “The first half, we were kind of struggling. Then the second half, we kind of woke up and started getting the rhythm back together, and we started working and hitting, so we finally got them to go in. It was a very fun day.”
Trinity outscored South Decatur 16-6 over the final six minutes of the opening period to take a 19-13 lead, held a 36-30 lead at the half and pulled away to an 81-49 win.
The visitors held a 30-29 lead late in the second period before Trinity scored the final seven points of the half. Five of those points came on two free throws and a 3-pointer by Tabeling.
“We were a little sleepy on defense in the first half, even though we scored 36 offensively,” head coach Mike Lang said. “That was our point of emphasis at halftime, just on our defensive rotations. I told them that we could create some easy points on offense, and it did.”
Trinity opened the third quarter on an 8-0 run to lead 44-30 on a jumper by Tabeling with 5:25 on the clock.
Decatur trailed Trinity 48-35 before the home team went on a 16-0 run over the final four minutes of the period to lead 64-35 going into the fourth period.
Lang said he liked what he saw from his team in the third quarter as it shot 10-for-14 from the floor and 5-for-5 from the free throw line.
Tabeling had nine points, Liza Froedge scored eight, Madison Keith six and Jordan Brewer five in the period.
“They went out and had their best quarter of the year, in my opinion,” Lang said. “I couldn’t have been prouder of how every single one of them played defensively.”
Tabeling topped all players with 27 points and raised her career total to 2,134.
Keith added 21 points and had a team-high seven rebounds, and Froedge and Brewer scored 13 points each.
Kiley Best topped Decatur (7-14) with 19 points.
Trinity (18-6) will take a three-game win streak into the Rising Sun Sectional, where it will face Shawe Memorial at 6 p.m. Tuesday.
Lang feels the Cougars are at the top of their game going into the tournament.
“I think we’re playing pretty good basketball right now,” he said. “Ultimately, our defense can create offense, and that’s great, but what I liked today is when we ran our offensive sets, especially in the third quarter, we scored a lot of points that way.
“We’re getting looks from different angles and making teams try to figure some things out a little more defensively. We’ve got to try to make this easier for Bailey when teams are sitting on her, hugging on her and running two or shadowing her. One, we’ve got to get her coming off screens, but two, we’ve got to get some other kids some looks, too.”
Trinity Lutheran (18-6): Bailey Tabeling 11 2-2 27, Liza Froedge 5 0-0 13, Laura Roeder 1 0-0 2, Madison Keith 8 4-4 21, Jordan Brewer 4 4-5 13, Dianna Munoz 1 0-0 3, Morgan Brewer 1 0-0 2, Maddie Adams 0 0-0 0, Marci Leinart 0 0-0 0, totals 22 10-11 81
South Decatur (7-14): Kiley Best 6 6-6 19, Makayla Somers 4 5-7 13, Hope Barker 3 0-0 7, Molly Eden 1 1-2 3, Paige McQueen 1 1-2 3, Mary gasper 1 1-2 3, Brayley Sundal 0 1-2 1, totals 16 15-21 49
3-point goals: TL (J. Brewer 4, Froedge 3, Tabeling 3, Keith, J, Brewer, Munoz), SD (Best, M. Gasper)
Rebounds: TL 18 (Keith 7, Tabeling 6), SD 19 (Eden 6).
Turnovers: TL 6, SD 16.