By Dillan Schorfheide
Even though the final score may show a dominating victory, Charleston’s basketball team was not flawless in its 55-35 victory over Cairo in the 27th Annual Charleston Girls Holiday Tournament.
But a second-quarter filled with 3-pointers helped the Lady Trojans get a victory in its first game of the tournament, spoiling Cairo’s first appearance in the tournament.
Charleston only scored 12 points in the first quarter, after its offense had a slow start against Cairo’ss trapping zone defense.
But Charleston freshman Erin Blair nailed a 3-pointer from the left wing 16 seconds into the second quarter to ignite the Charleston offense.
The second quarter turned out to be the difference-maker. Charleston held Cairo to nine points while scoring 19, the most it scored in any quarter.
After making the first 3-pointer of the second quarter, Blair assisted on the next three baskets (including two 3-pointers), and she scored five more points in the quarter. Overall, Blair led Charleston with 15 points.
The Lady Trojans made five 3-pointers in the second quarter, which helped them build the big lead they carried through the rest of the game.
In the first quarter, Cairo’s zone defense gave Charleston troubles at times, and Cairo had some good size inside that stopped inside scoring.
But Charleston moved the ball better in the second quarter, often finding the open player for a 3-pointer.
Although Cairo, after the first quarter, never got back to within single digits in the score, the Lady Pilots pressured Charleston’s half-court offense and presented a full-court press that made the Lady Trojans commit turnovers.
In fact, eight of Cairo’s points late in the fourth quarter came from steals and a subsequent fast break.
While there were times the Lady Trojans were able to beat the pressure and get an easy basket down low, Charleston ball handlers will need to find a way to beat getting trapped to avoid lost possessions.
The other leading scorers for the Lady Trojans were sophomore Ellie Long, who had 10 points and freshman Alycia Triplett, who scored nine.
Charleston plays Effingham at 7:30 tonight for its final game of the day, before continuing pool play Saturday. Effingham lost to Teutopolis right before Charleston played, and the Flaming Hearts appeared to be similar to Cairo, but without the trapping defense Cairo used.
Effingham also presents some size inside, so 3-pointers may be helpful for the Lady Trojans again in that game, which is scheduled to start at 7:30.