Shekinah outlasts Lady Cards in opener.
The Triad Lady Cardinal basketball team opened their 2017-18 campaign on the road at Shekinah Christian in Plain City, losing in a 56-52 thriller that went down to the wire.
"I feel very badly for the girls tonight for the loss, because we played hard enough and well enough to win," said Triad mentor Jeff Merklin. "But Shekinah is, as usual, a good fundamental and shooting basketball team and they made the key plays at the end of the game. Nevertheless, this is the kind of effort and performance we need at Triad to get the girls program back to where it was a few years ago," Merklin added.
The Cards got off to a fast start, blazing to a 10-2 lead behind 3 baskets by Tori Thomas. "We started the game exactly like we needed to," said Merklin, "but then we went ice cold." From the midway mark of the first quarter to the same point in the second quarter, the Lady Cards went 0-13 from the field and Shekinah went on a 17-0 run to take a 19-10 lead. "They scored some points off of our misses, but really, Kloe Yutzy is the one who got them going like gangbusters there for that important 5-6 minutes," Merklin noted. Yutzy had several long treys in the streak, and ended up with 19 first half points.
Later in the 2nd quarter, the Lady Cardinals finally found their bearings, but the Flames continued to find the net and led 31-18.
"At halftime, the girls made a good point; we hadn't made a good enough effort to get the ball to the rim; we didn't go to the line once in the first half. So we decided to make a concerted effort to get the ball inside more in the second half, and we had more success," Merklin stated.
Midway through the 3rd period, the Flames still held a comfortable 13 point lead. "At that point I decided to go with a 4 guard offense because they simply were quicker than I expected them to be, and the girls really picked up the pace." Triad whittled the lead down to 43-34 at the end of the 3rd quarter before an exciting 4th quarter that was filled with action. Triad continued to chip away at the Flame lead until finally taking a 52-51 lead with 0:59 to go in the game. After Shekinah tied it up with a free throw, the Lady Cards had 3 good looks at the 30 second mark, but none would go down. Shekinah then scored with 14 seconds left to go ahead 54-52. Again, Triad had 3 good looks at the hoop, including 2 3-pointers, in the final seconds, but couldn't find the mark. The Flames put down 2 additional free throws with 1 second left on the clock for the final 56-52 margin.
Senior Tori Thomas led Triad with 20 points. Finnish exchange student Emma Vanninem hauled down 9 rebounds to go with 10 points for Triad. PG Alea Ferguson also nabbed 7 rebounds to go with 12 points. Yutzy ended up with 27 to lead Shekinah, which improved to 2-1 on the young season.
Triad starts Ohio Heartland Conference play with a Saturday afternoon game at Fairbanks.
Triad 10 8 16 18 - 52
Shekinah 17 14 12 13 - 56
LeVan, F. 1-0-3
LeVan, C. 0-0-0
3 point goals: Ferguson (2), Thomas (2), Bailey, F. LeVan
Headings, D. 1-0-3
Headings, N. 4-2-10
3 point goals: Yutzy (3), D. Headings, Scheffel