Trigg (6-5 overall, 2-2 in district) lost 71-52 to the Lady Rockets (4-6, 3-1) Dec. 4 in Marion, and after a fourth-place finish in the Kentucky Maching and Engineering Christmas Claassic, this win should serve as a big confidence booster, Lady ‘Cat head coach Amy Breckel said.
“We were coming off of two losses in our Christmas tournament, so it was really important to get our emotions back on track and show what we can do,” Breckel said. “We went from having a 19-point loss [at Crittenden] to winning by 10 here. It shows progression and that we’re developing. We needed to prove to ourselves that we’re competitive against this team and show what we’ll be capable of come tournament time.”
A pair of three-pointers by Brooke Kearney kept Trigg from being stagnant offensively in the first quarter. Neither team led by more than three points until Ashley Matlock converted a three-point play that kickstarted a 6-0 Trigg run that put the Lady ‘Cats ahead 22-17 with 30 seconds left in the first half.
Crittenden scored the next eight points, but Trigg answered with a 12-4 streak that pushed the Lady ‘Cat lead back to five.
Jessi Hodge scored 13 of her team-high 19 points in the fourth quarter, but Trigg’s offense exploded for 25 points in the frame. The Lady Rockets never got closer than three points.
“Hodge is the kind of player that will take her team on her back if they’re not getting the job done, and we were able to handle that,” Breckel said. “I wasn’t happy with the way we came out in the second half. It was another one of those ‘here we go again’ moments where we had a couple of bad passes and they got a couple of easy baskets right off the bat. We handled their punch and came right back at them again.”
Matlock led all players with her double-double – 24 points, 13 rebounds. She was the only Lady ‘Cat to score in double figures.
“We’ve worked on penetrating more and setting some high screens to help our ball-handlers out,” Breckel said. “I think that worked really well for us tonight.”
Trigg also utilized Matlock in the post at times. Breckel said her athletic ability caused problems on defense for Crittenden. Overall, the Lady ‘Cats shot 17-for-27 in the paint.
“We shoot well in our gym,” Breckel said. “We’ve got to take that same intensity on the road now.”
Trigg shot 50 percent from the field in the second half while Crittenden missed all 12 of its three-point attempts in the third and fourth quarters. In addition to other stastical advantages – Trigg bested Crittenden at the free throw line (55.6 percent to 41.7) and on the boards (43 rebounds to 39) – Breckel said effort made the biggest difference for the Lady ‘Cats.
“Across the board from our kids, it was just flat-out hustle,” Breckel said. “We got in foul trouble early but were still able to keep our composure and play some good pressure defense. I think some teams haven’t seen that side of us, and we’re going to continue to work on that.”
Handling high-pressure defense has been a problem for the Lady ‘Cats, but Breckel said the team is improving in that area, and the Crittenden game was proof of that.
“We did a good job of keeping the ball in the middle of the floor, which let us distribute the ball better,” Breckel said. “I was proud of the way we handled the pressure.”
The Lady ‘Cats hosted Dawson Springs on Tuesday (results unavailable at press time).
Trigg returns to district action Friday when the Lady ‘Cats play the first of a home girl-boy doubleheader against Livingston Central (5-6, 1-3).