ST. PARIS – Graham and Triad traded scoring spurts Monday night, with Triad eventually prevailing, 43-40, in non-league girls basketball.
The game started sloppily for both teams on both ends, with each squad looking sluggish defensively and out of sync offensively.
“We did just enough to win tonight,” Triad Coach Jason Malone said. “We haven’t played since December 18. Our goal was to get better over break.”
Graham managed an early lead before a string of Jenna Ober drives to the basket finished the quarter in a 13-13 tie. Ober scored 10 points in the quarter for Triad.
“We just couldn’t find anybody willing to step in front and stop her penetration,” Graham Coach Steve Flora said. “I thought we did fairly well at times when we had our breath, but when we were worn down …”
The Cardinals went lifeless in the second quarter and were held scoreless for the first seven minutes of the frame. The result was a 23-17 lead for the Falcons at halftime.
It was Graham which seemed to lack energy early in the third period, with Triad rattling off six consecutive points early to force a timeout by Flora to get his girls back into the game mentally.
“Defensively is where we’re going to win our games,” Flora said. “Definitely the momentum went their way. We needed to get that nipped in the bud. We seemed to simmer it down and we were close, but never could get over that hump.”
From that point on, it was a back-and-forth battle that saw more than a few lead changes and several ties.
“I felt like the complexion of the game changed then,” Malone said. “You want to make sure the kids are aware of the situation and know that they can do what it takes to win. It came down to making plays in crunch time and making shots.”
In the end, Ober was too much for Graham, bullying her way to the rack again and again using a variety of crossovers, jump stops and pure acceleration. She finished as the game’s high scorer with 29 points. Alea Ferguson had 11 points for Triad and Taylor Gibson scored 14 for Graham.
“Jenna carried us. That’s what she does, thank God. She carries us,” Malone said.
Graham won the jayvee game, 42-21. Madi Vanscoy had 15 points and Brooke Johannes added 12 for the Falcons. Michelle Cauley scored 9 points for Triad and Tori Thomas tallied 8.
Graham (4-7) hosts Indian Lake on Wednesday while Triad (3-7) hosts Greeneview on Thursday.
Reach Justin Miller at 652-1331 (ext. 1776) or on Twitter @UDC_Miller.