By Anthony Jones
TROY — After being knocked into the consolation bracket from a 58-36 loss to Nashville on Jan. 13, Triad continued play at the Highland Girls Tournament last week.
The Lady Knight first foe in the consolation bracket, Hillsboro, entered the consolation bracket after a 77-38 loss to O’Fallon. Entering their matchup, the Hilltoppers held an 11-12 record.
Through one quarter of play, the two teams found themselves in a 10-10 tie. Triad found breathing room at the break to move ahead 25-19.
A key component to the halftime lead was 15 points from McKenna Witham, with the bounty of those points coming from the paint.
Coach Josh Hunt analyzed their success on their attack at the rim, “We’ve changed some things and obviously McKenna’s a very gifted and athletic girl. Getting the ball inside through dribble drives or a paint touch through posts, whether it be Delaney or McKenna, good things usually happen when those things occur.”
By the end of the third frame, Triad’s lead had continued healthy growth to the point of a 34-24 advantage.
The Lady Knights finished the job by outsourcing the Hilltoppers 19-5 in the fourth quarter enroute to a 53-33 victory.
With the win, Triad advanced to play the 20-4 Civic Memorial Eagles. The Lady Knights trailed the Eagles 13-10 after the first quarter of their earlier season meeting before taking a 66-29 loss.
“We played them for 8 minutes unfortunately and that was it. We’ve lost 17 straight games to them. Hopefully, we’re ready and we’re going to prepare our tails off tomorrow in preparation to play a really really good team on Wednesday,” Coach Hunt said after advancing to rematch their conference foes.
Their second meeting started with another 13-10 Civic Memorial first quarter lead but a 14-13 second frame kept Triad within 26-24 at the break.
A cold third quarter, where the Lady Knights would tally just two points, broke the game open as Civic Memorial flew ahead 42-26. Yet, Triad provided a total momentum shift in the final quarter of play.
The Lady Knights responded with a 15-1 run, capped off by an Erica Boyce triple to pull within 43-41 with 16 seconds remaining. After a pair of Eagle free throws in response, Maddie Hunt raced up court for a layup to go down 45-43 with 9 seconds remaining.
A quick in bound down court sent Civic Memorial to the line to effectively seal the game with a 47-43 lead. Triad knocked down a shot at the buzzer to make the final 47-45.