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STATE CHAMPS

Thursday, February 02, 2017 - Updated: 8:31 AM
Galen Shelton

 Lady Trojans ‘Get it Done!’

Compared to their first two games at Rend Lake, Saturday’s championship win over Herrin wasn?t nearly as pretty, but it sure looks good in the record books for the Massac Junior High School (MJHS) Lady Trojans.
After trouncing Benton and posting a solid 50-41 win over a big, physical Centralia team in the semis, the girls appeared just a notch off of top form — chalk it up to nerves or whatever — but the 32-25 win earned the girls the big trophy and a lot of respect.
While the margin of victory was larger in the Centralia win, nine points, the win over the Tigerettes was in many ways a better example of MJHS play than the Herrin win.
The Centralia game started 5-0 in favor of the Tigerettes, but Massac clawed back to tie things up at the first break 7-7.
With six girls getting in the scoring column in the first half, Massac opened up a slim 17-14 halftime lead.
The third quarter saw Centralia open up a four-point lead but Massac closed with buckets by Kendra Walden, Ansley Bailey and Cali McCraw to get close again around the one minute mark. A free throw and a big triple by Farrah Castleman gave the ladies a 36-34 lead going into the final seven minutes.
Despite getting outrebounded by the bigger Centralia team, Massac’s defense kept the Tigerettes off their shooting game and Massac earned their keep at the free throw line hitting 10 of 16 tries in the final quarter to put away the hard fought 50-41 win.  
The 32-25 win over Herrin in the title tilt marked the third win of the season for the Lady Trojans over Herrin, and it was atypical of Massac’s brand of ball as only three girls reached the scoring column. But nerves, defense and a raucous crowd may have played into it. Against probably the best post player they saw all year in Herrin?s Layla Wade, the girls contained Wade holding her to 11 points and allowed her teammates only 14.
With Massac holding a tenuous 25-24 late in the fourth quarter, McCraw scored and then drew a charging foul on Herrin setting the stage for a Castleman three pointer that pretty much sealed Herrin?s fate. Wade made one of two free tosses with just under two minutes to go and that was the last of Herrin?s scoring.
Bunting made two of three free tosses in the last minute and Massac claimed a 32-25 win for the big trophy.
Jenna Bunting, Castleman and McCraw were the only Trojans to make the scorer?s book, but it was most definitely a team effort that kept Herrin off balance all afternoon. Castleman led everyone with 18 markers.
With Massac County currently holding the SIJHSAA Class L volleyball title and just this fall grabbing the softball title, the girls’ win in the basketball title game marked a watershed moment for MJHS athletics as the school holds the Class L title in three female sports.
Checking with Greg Hale at the SIJHSAA I’ve been unable to determine whether or not it?s been done before but at any rate, it’s a huge accomplishment. Congratulations to all!
See more game pictures on page 2B.

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