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Strong second half leads Trojan girls past Wapahani

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New Castle’s Cloie York (3) drains another free throw as host Wapahani’s Dayten Lee (12) and Lexi Wulff (2) wait along the foul lane during Thursday night’s girls basketball game. York was a perfect 4-for-4 at the foul line, hit a trio of three-pointers, and scored 15 points in the Trojans’ 58-42 victory over the Raiders.
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New Castle’s Cameron Tabor (20) looks for a place to drive the ball against the defense of host Wapahani’s Ashley England (30) as the Trojans’ Macayla McGowan (2) sets a pick against the Raiders’ Carlie Boggs (23) during Thursday night’s girls basketball game. Tabor and Boggs led their respective teams with 17 points apiece and New Castle won 58-42.

By DAVID RISLEY - drisley@thecouriertimes.com

SELMA — By now, it is pretty apparent that when other players step up to hit shots for the New Castle High School girls basketball team besides Cameron Tabor, the chances to get a victory are enhanced greatly.

That happened Thursday night when the Trojans traveled north to face Class 2A Wapahani. New Castle utilized good shooting from both the field and free throw line after intermission, and the result was a 58-42 win for the visitors.

The Trojans improved to 8-8 for the season while the host Raiders slipped to 12-4.

“You never know how a team is going to perform after a holiday break,” New Castle Coach Molly Swift said afterward. “Sometimes they come out energized and sometimes they come out sluggish. Both teams got off to slow starts, but I was happy about the way we played the final three quarters. We didn’t focus on shooting much at all in our week of practice, and I was pleased how our girls performed in that area.”

New Castle’s Laila Smith tallied a basket 17 seconds after the opening tip to give the visitors an early 2-0 lead. But no one scored for the next 5:44 of the first quarter until Wapahani’s Sydney Cook hit a bucket with 1:59 left in the period to tie things up at 2-all.

Tabor canned a three-pointer and Molly Alspaugh a basket for the Trojans to offset a pair of free throws by the Raiders’ Ashley England, and New Castle led 7-4 after one.

Macayla McGowan and Cloie York hit buckets at the start of the second period to extend the Trojan advantage to 11-4 at the 6:29 mark of the quarter. An England basket and two from Cook brought the hosts to within 11-10 with 4:40 left in the quarter.

Tabor buried another shot from behind the arc and New Castle’s Karsen Morgan then hit a three-pointer and converted a four-point play (a trey plus charity toss), sandwiched around a pair of free throws by Cook, and suddenly the Trojans had a 21-12 lead with 2:59 remaining in the first half.

But the visitors got only a Tabor bucket the rest of the period while Wapahani countered with a three-pointer and two free throws from Carly Boggs and a Dayten Lee charity toss to pull the Raiders to within 23-18 at intermission.

New Castle shot 9-for-26 (34.6 percent) from the field and hit its only free throw in the first half, while Wapahani was just 5-of-24 (20.8 percent) from the floor, but stayed in the game by outrebounding the visitors 12-3 in the second period and hitting 7-of-8 charity tosses (87.5 percent) in the opening 16 minutes.

McGowan hit a basket and Tabor and Alyssa “Peanut” Semler added three-pointers to more than counter a trey from Boggs, and the Trojans had a double digit lead of 31-21 with 5:47 left in the third quarter.

No one scored for the next 2:45 until Boggs sank a couple free throws at the 3:02 mark to trim the visitors’ lead to 31-23. But Alspaugh hit another bucket and Cloie York nailed a three-pointer to boost the New Castle advantage to 36-23 with 1:55 left in the period, and the Trojan lead never fell below double digits again.

York canned another trey, sandwiched between a three-pointer and two free throws from Boggs, and the visitors led 39-28 after three periods.

The fourth quarter was merely New Castle trying to hold onto the lead and the Raiders trying desperately to get back into the contest.

York’s third three-pointer of the contest 16 seconds into the period extended the Trojan advantage to 42-28. A Morgan basket, sandwiched between buckets by the host’s Lexi Humbert and Cook made it 44-32 before Tabor hit New Castle’s final field goal of the contest with 5:40 left in the game to extend the visitors’ lead to 47-32.

“They (Raiders) played zone much of the game and then went to a box-in-one,” Swift added. “When the girls asked what they should do, I told them we’ll shoot them out of it. Cloie and Karsen hit some big shots along with Cameron. We still have some things to work on, but I’m happy with how we played tonight.”

From that point on, the Trojans were content to play keepaway with the ball, forcing Wapahani to foul them. New Castle trekked to the charity stripe 13 times in the final quarter and did quite well there as York was a perfect 4-for-4, Ashlynn Clouse and Morgan were a perfect 2-for-2 apiece, and Tabor was 3-for-5.

“I didn’t shoot well the first half,” York said after the game, “but I did better the second half. Everybody was hitting shots the second half and doing their job defensively. We want to win the next game and keep it rolling.”

The final score of 58-42 was the Trojans’ largest lead of the night.

Largely on that second quarter differential, the Raiders won the rebounding battle 34-24, but committed 12 turnovers to the visitors’ 10.

New Castle was 9-of-16 from the field in the second half to finish with 18-of-42 for 42.9 percent marksmanship, and was an excellent 12-of-14 (85.7 percent) from the free throw line for the game. Wapahani shot a little better from the floor in the second half to end with 12-of-44 (27.3 percent) accuracy and was 14-of-20 (70 percent) on free throws.

Tabor led the Trojans in scoring with 17 points, followed by York 15, and Morgan 11. McGowan, Tabor, and Smith yanked down five rebounds apiece, and York had four boards.

Boggs led Wapahani in scoring with 17 points before fouling out, and Cook had a double-double of 13 points and 12 rebounds. Lee had 10 boards for the Raiders and Lexi Wulff and England corralled four caroms apiece.

Wapahani won the junior varsity game 49-44. Trinity Brosher scored 15 points and Jalynn Willis 13 to lead the Raiders, while Mackenzie Bridgeman tallied 15 points and Maddy Meek 13 to lead New Castle.

The Trojans complete their three-game swing through the Mid-Eastern Conference when they travel to Randolph Southern Wednesday.

New Castle 58, Wapahani 42

NEW CASTLE (58)

McGowan 2-4 0-0 4, York 4-9 4-4 15, Semler 1-3 0-0 3, Tabor 5-13 3-5 17, Smith 1-4 0-0 2, Morgan 3-6 3-3 11, Alspaugh 2-2 0-0 4, Bridgeman 0-0 0-0 0 0, Meek 0-1 0-0 0, A. Clouse 0-0 2-2 2. Totals 18-42 12-14 58.

WAPAHANI (42)

Wulff 0-4 0-0 0, D. Lee 1-7 1-5 4, Cook 4-9 5-6 13, Boggs 4-12 6-7 17, England 1-8 2-2 4, Humbert 2-4 0-0 4, Morrow 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 12-44 14-20 42.

New Castle 7 16 16 19 - 58

Wapahani 4 14 10 14 - 42

3-point goals – New Castle 10 (Tabor 4, York 3, Morgan 2, Semler), Wapahani 4 (Boggs 3, D. Lee). Rebounds – New Castle 24 (McGowan 5, Tabor 5, Smith 5, York 4), Wapahani 34 (Cook 12, D. Lee 10, Wulff 4, England 4). Total fouls – New Castle 18, Wapahani 17. Turnovers – New Castle 10, Wapahani 12. Fouled out – Semler, Boggs. JV score – Wapahani 49, New Castle 44. Records – New Castle 8-8, Wapahani 12-4.