By Anthony Jones
After a long delay to their season, the Triad Knights basketball team kicked off their season this past week. The squad’s first game of the year was on the road against the Granite City Warriors.
The game got off to a slow, but tight start. At the end of the first quarter, Triad trailed by a score of 9-8. Senior Wally Good led the team in points in that opening period, racking up 4.
The second quarter was not far off from the first, with both teams slowly adding on points. Both teams added 7 points to their total, handing the Warriors a slight 16-15 heading into the halftime intermission. Sam Yager, a senior for the Knights, led the team with 6 points at the break.
When the game returned to action, both offenses came alive. Granite City’s third quarter score, 18, was more than they scored in the entire first half. Triad’s offense picked up the pace as well, totaling 13, but were still falling behind.
The offensive flurry did not slow down in the fourth quarter. Triad yet again picked up the pace and scored 16 more. But the hosting Warriors could not be slowed either as they put up 19. This left the final score as 53-44, in Granite City’s favor.
Yager led the charge for the Knights in their season opener with 13 points and 10 rebounds, earning him a double-double. Good, a fellow senior, also had a solid night with a tally of 8 points. McGrady Noyes and Reid O’Brien, two sophomores, opened the season strong as well with 9 and 8 points, respectively.
After dropping their season opener, the team set their eyes on the home opener. The team hosted the Madison Trojans on Saturday afternoon. The Trojans were also looking for their first win, setting the stage for a big game to win for both teams.
Madison jumped out to an early lead after hitting a three pointer and a free throw, giving them a 4-0 lead. Scoring their first home points of the season, Good narrowed the lead to two points. The two teams continued to trade shots until the opening period ended at 9-9, which included 6 from Good.
Madison opened their scoring in the second quarter by hitting a three pointer, but O’Brien responded with one of his own, the first for Triad in the game. By the end of the quarter, Madison had taken a slight lead to go up 19-18. With 10 points under his belt, Good led Triad in scoring so far.
After the halftime intermission, the Trojans jumped on the Knights early. The team added 5 points to their total unresponded to, which built their lead up to 6. Kile Crook, a senior player for the Knights, earned those points back as he scored 5 points on two shots. O’Brien kept the ball rolling and hit a three to give Triad their first lead of the half at 26-24.
Not to be outdone, the visitors hit two three pointers back to back, giving them a four point advantage. But Yager and Gabe Giacoletto closed out the quarter by adding five points for Triad, putting them in the lead at 31-30 heading into the final quarter.
Both teams traded shots early on in the final period, but O’Brien caught fire to open the game up. He hit a two pointer and a pair of free throws to put his squad up 38-34 and followed that up with a three pointer for good measure. The Trojans responded with a three pointer of their own, but the Knights outdid that as Yager tallied up four more.
Triad closed the game out with some solid free throw shooting from Yager, O’Brien, and Jake Stewart to secure the win. The final score of the contest was 51-43 and put Triad’s first game in the win column.
On the statsheet, O’Brien led the Knights with 15 points total, including nine in the crucial fourth quarter. Seniors Yager and Good played strong as well, tallying 11 and 10 points, respectively. Another impressive feat was that nine different players contributed points to the team’s total.
Triad’s upcoming games are listed below.
February 18 vs Mascoutah HS Away 6:00 PM
February 20 vs Marquette Catholic HS Away 2:30 PM
February 22 vs Waterloo HS Away 6:00 PM
February 23 vs Civic Memorial HS Home 6:00 PM