PROCTORVILLE — What Notre Dame’s defense did to Trimble on Saturday is generally what happens anytime the Lady Titans step on the court — a plethora of forced turnovers.
The only difference this time around was that their defensive performance came in one of the more highly-anticipated non-league games of the 2020-21 girls basketball season in the Southeast District.
Three-time defending Division IV district champion Notre Dame and district runner-up from a season ago Trimble met in the first game of the 2021 Tri-State Hoops Throwdown at Fairland High School’s Carl York Center — with a bright and early 10 a.m. start.
Taking a 19-18 lead through the first quarter after Laikyn Imler’s buzzer-beating three, the Lady Tomcats quickly proved they would indeed give the Lady Titans a game.
However, after allowing five made threes to Trimble shooters in the opening period, ND’s defense limited its opponent to just five more long-range makes over the span of the final three quarters — while at the same time turning up its half-court pressure.
By game’s end, the Lady Titans had forced 22 Lady Tomcat turnovers while committing just nine themselves — something coach J.D. McKenzie said helped their offense get out in transition and create opportunities.
The end result was a 66-58 Notre Dame victory.
“We were really proud, thought we played hard,” McKenzie said. “They had 18 points from three-pointers going into halftime, so we had to start coming out on their shooters. We caused some turnovers and felt like we ran the floor well, able to get some easy points out of transition.”
Notre Dame’s Ava Hassel was the beneficiary of many of the Trimble missed chances, as the senior poured in a career-high 37 points on 11 made field goals and 14-of-19 foul shooting.
Twenty-eight of Hassel’s game-high 37 came in the second half, including 15 of her team’s 20 in the fourth quarter.
Hassel was one of three Lady Titans to reach double figures, alongside senior Isabel Cassidy who scored 12 — seven in the opening frame and five in the final — and sophomore Annie Dettwiller whose 11 points all came during the game’s first 16 minutes.
“We really wanted to focus on our defense and we knew it was vital and would lead to us going on some runs and finishing this game out,” Hassel said, after the career-best outing. “We wanted to use our speed and get out and score in transition, and turning them over was key.”
The win improves the Lady Titans to 11-1, and comes two weeks after their home defeat at the hands of potential regional foe Berne Union.
Interestingly enough, the Lady Titans and Lady Tomcats (10-3) shared the Lady Rockets as a common opponent — after BU picked up a 51-50 win in Glouster on a buzzer-beater last Wednesday.
As the beginning of the postseason is now less than one month away, McKenzie added how important it was for this group of Lady Titans to play games that’ll help best prepare them for what they’ll be faced with in tournament play.
“I knew this was a big game for a couple reasons. It gets that Berne Union game taste out of our mouths because that was a much closer game than what the final score reflected,” McKenzie said. “Trimble basically beat them if it weren’t for a 30-footer at the buzzer. And for seeding in our district, Trimble’s going to be one of those teams we’re fighting with for the highest seeds. Played a great team — teams like Berne Union and Trimble really prepare you for what you’re going to see in tournaments.”
Trimble 19 7 13 19 — 58
Notre Dame 18 11 17 20 — 66
TRIMBLE 58 (10-3)
Emma Beha 1 0-2 2, Emily Calentine 1 0-2 2, Adelynn Stevens 1 0-0 2, Ashlynn Hardy 0 0-0 0, Laikyn Imler 5 1-2 13, Riley Campbell 0 0-0 0, Madaline Yuska 0 0-0 0, Briana Orsborne 9 0-1 22, Emily Young 4 0-0 12, Sophia Ives 0 0-0 0, Lydia Beha 0 0-0 0, Jayne Six 1 3-4 5; TOTALS 22 4-11 58; Three-point field goals: 10 (Briana Orsborne and Emily Young 4 apiece, Laikyn Imler 2)
NOTRE DAME 66 (11-1)
Ava Hassel 11 14-19 37, Ella Kirby 0 0-0 0, Kamryn Bradford 1 2-2 4, Annie Dettwiller 4 3-4 11, Claire Dettwiller 1 0-0 2, Isabel Cassidy 3 4-4 12, Katie Strickland 0 0-0 0; TOTALS 20 23-29 66; Three-point field goals: 3 (Isabel Cassidy 2, Ava Hassel 1)
Reach Jacob Smith at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1930, by email at [email protected], or on Twitter @JacobSmithPDT © 2020 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved