By Anthony Jones
TROY — With a combined record of 44-7, the two opponents Triad girls basketball met last week posed a plethora of challenges.
Their first powerhouse foe, Carlyle, hosted the Lady Knights on Jan. 23. The Indians entered the evening with a 20-2 record, while Triad stood at 12-11.
Triad’s first and only lead of the matchup came 47 seconds in as a Makenna Witham triple pushed them ahead 3-2.
The home side regained the lead in short order and ended the first frame ahead 13-5. A more balanced second quarter saw the Indians’ lead extended to 21-12.
Carlyle never allowed the deficit to pull within nine for the remainder of the battle, cruising on to a 50-32 final.
Savannah Hildebrand accounted for half of Triad’s offense to lead all scorers. 12 points from Witham and four from Delaney Hess rounded out the team’s scoring.
The Lady Knights’ next basketball came in the form of a Jan. 26 visit to Civic Memorial. In addition to being 21-5 overall, the Eagles boasted an 18 game winning streak against Triad.
Living up to their ranking of tenth in the most recent IHSA Class 3A AP Poll, Civic Memorial flew ahead to a 10-2 lead. By the close of the first quarter, the home team extended that opening to 20-6.
Foul trouble added to the Lady Knights’ early struggles as their top two season scorers, Witham and Hildebrand, both racked up two fouls early on. Just 70 seconds into the second frame, Witham was tagged with her third violation out of the five allowed.
“She got some touch fouls that were unfortunate and that put us behind the eightball. When Makenna is off the floor, it’s no secret we’re not nearly the same team,” Coach Josh Hunt said of the early whistle struggles.
Despite the challenge, the Lady Knights were only outscored at a 13-10 clip in the second quarter, leaving them behind 33-16.
Erica Boyce led the team’s first-half scoring with nine points off three triples.
After following behind 39-23 in the third, Triad pieced together their first rally of the game to pull within 41-31. A trip to the free throw line opened the door to a single-digit deficit, but a pair of misses stalled the run.
Civic Memorial would outscore Triad 21-18 across the remainder of the night for a 63-49 victory.
Coach Hunt analyzed his team’s outing, “We did a lot of good stuff. Our girls don’t quit, we just played a really talented team and they played really well tonight. Part of it’s them, part of us.”
Boyce, who would finish five of six from the arc, led the visitors with a career high 17 points. With 14, Witham finished second on the night.
Triad dropped to 12-13 overall in the defeat.