Face league powerhouses this weekend
by Than Acuff
It’s been a rough couple of weeks for Titans basketball as game after game continues to get cancelled due to the onslaught of snow. The break put the hurt on the Titans girls as they had at least two winnable non-league games lined up before returning to league action this past weekend.
“It was really hard,” says coach Mike Moran. “It was a long, tough stretch but they just kept practicing with a great attitude and improved quite a bit.”
With Friday’s game cancelled, the Titans then had to reboot once again to take the floor on Saturday, January 21, against the Center Vikings. Center sits in the middle of the standings of the highly competitive Southern Peaks league but despite the obvious challenge ahead of them, Moran sensed something new in the Titans as they warmed up for the game.
“It was just great to see the way they came out,” says Moran. “You could see they were excited to take the floor.”
Unfortunately, Center was prepared for the potential of the Titans on their home court and made a point of pressing from the opening minute to keep the Titans off balance.
“We came out shaky from their press,” says Moran. “I thought we’d do better and I expected us to beat the press. That really hurt us for sure.”
Center jumped out to an early 8-2 lead scoring from turnovers off of the press, but when Sydney Petersen drove the lane and tossed up a lob to Sarah Johnson for a bucket, things were looking better. Center came right back though to rattle off seven more points and close the first quarter with a 15-4 lead.
Center tacked on five more points to open the second quarter before the Titans play shifted gears. Paced by solid team defense and better possessions on offense, the Titans started to climb back into the game. Siena Truex drained a six-foot jumper and a free throw and Maddie Pankey came off the bench to hit three of five free throws, pulling the Titans back to within 11 points while their defense forced Center into a number of turnovers.
Center closed the half with one more basket but the Titans’ resurgence had them poised to pull the game even closer in the third quarter. While the Titans’ defense continued to do their job, they struggled on offense and the two teams played even basketball through the third quarter. Highlights came from Truex, who hit a three-pointer and a 14-foot jump shot.
“We were hanging in there and if we could just make a couple of those shots, we’re back in the game,” says Moran.
Center put the game out of reach in the fourth quarter as turnovers and missed shots continued to plague the Titans, allowing the Vikings to pull away for the 46-17 win.
“We’re there, we just have to finish,” says Moran. “I think we’re definitely on the move in the right direction and we’ve got some of the younger kids coming into the game and starting to contribute.”
The Titans will have their hands full this weekend as they head to del Norte to face the number one team in the league, number two in the state, and then host Sargent on Saturday, January 28 in Mt. Olympus. Tip-off Saturday for the girls is slated for 3:30 p.m.