Panthers fall in NAS Classic opener

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Trimble trips Carroll 61-51

By Dave Taylor

A sluggish shooting effort and the lack of making necessary defensive adjustments were Carroll County’s undoing as the Panthers fell to rival Trimble County in the first round of the North American Stainless Basketball Classic on Monday. Trimble defeated Carroll County 61-51 to avenge a 63-58 loss to the Panthers at home on Dec. 3.

Carroll County, propelled by the precision shooting of Will Yager and Ethan Stewart from three-point range, charged to a 23-14 lead after the first eight minutes of play. The Panthers stretched the lead to 25-14 early in the second period. But Trimble came alive defensively as the Panthers came up dry every time they went to the bucket during the remainder of the half.

“We made adjustments after the first quarter to take Yager and Stewart out of the game,” said Trimble Head Coach Bob Lauster. “After that we did a good job of staying in front of their penetration and their shooters.”

The Raiders fronted 32-25 at halftime. Carroll County pulled within three, at 32-29, before Trimble offensively regained control. The Raiders stretched their lead to nine, 45-36, after three quarters of play. Carroll struggled to keep within distance during the final eight minutes, but never could regain the lustre of their first quarter effort.

“We got off to a really good start,” said Panther Coach Carroll Yager. “If there was a bright spot in our game it would have been our play in the first quarter. After that it went downhill.”

“I thought we showed good patience against their pressure defense,” Lauster said. “That’s been one of our big problems so far, we haven’t been patient and it has cost us.”

While Trimble had a stellar shooting night from the field (23-46, 50 percent), Carroll struggled both from outside and at the line. The Panthers managed only 22 field goals in 57 attempts and converted only three of 11 charity tosses.

“We took a lot of bad shots,” Yager lamented. “What it really came down to was our inability to contain their dribble drives. They got through for 21 layups in the game.”

“Free throws were one of the differences in the game,” Lauster said. “We just need to get to the line more.”

At one point in the game the Raiders had hit nine free tosses in a row without a miss. Trimble ended the night 15 for 21 from the line.

While Trimble struggled early in the contest it was Trent Green who kept a sharp shooting eye for the Raiders. The junior ultimately finished the game with 28 points to lead all scorers.

“Trent carried us the first half,” Lauster said.

Justin Webb poured in 15 points and Dylan Staples added nine for the Raiders.

“Dylan did a good job of coming off the bench and taking the ball to the basket,” Lauster said.

Stewart led the Panthers in scoring with 14 points, Yager added 13 and Andy Sisenstein contributed nine.

The loss was the fourth in a row for Carroll County.

“It really was very disappointing,” Yager said. “We just didn’t make the adjustments we needed to.”

Carroll County, 2-4, played Logan County in the losers’ bracket on Tuesday afternoon.

Trimble, now 3-8 on the season, advanced into the winners’ bracket to play Madison’s Shawe Memorial High School, who defeated Logan County in Monday’s last first-round game. The Raiders were to return to action late on Tuesday night.

Results of the Tuesday games were not available at press time.