Close Game for Trojan Girls

The Trojan girls led the Knights for the majority of the game, losing within the last three seconds.


MAKING A MOVE- Senior Baylee Newell drives down the court during a game against the Shenandoah Fillies. Newell has been a member of the girls’ basketball team all four years of her high school career.

Kennedy Goergen and Lauren Nicholas

Trojan girls basketball took a hard fall to the Kuemper Catholic Knights on Tuesday, Jan. 15. Head coach Dan Vargason said the plan of attack for the game was to “get more pressure,” make the Knights work full court to “get them out of their rhythm,” and be “more aggressive at the rim” offensively. The basketball team has been working on shooting, team defense, defensive and offensive rotations, communication, team culture and chemistry since the first time they played Kuemper this season.

After an aggressive first half, the Trojans were in the lead with a score of 30-27. Heading into the third quarter, Vargason’s goal was to “make sure we were ready for anything they threw at us” and “maintain consistency.”

The Trojans maintained the lead throughout the whole game, until the last two seconds. Leading 62-57 with 30 seconds left, a foul sent Kuemper Knight Maci Overmohle to the line to put the Knights down by four. After a three-pointer, the Knights were down by one. Sophomore Haley Rasmussen drowned a free throw to make the Trojans ahead by two, but with three seconds left the Knights hit a three to put the Trojans down by one. After a hard fought game, Trojan girls lost to the Knights by one point.

Junior McKenzie Waters was the leading scorer for the Trojans with 15 points, followed by Baylee Newell and Haley Rasmussen. “Coach Vargason really encouraged us to shoot when we were open,” Waters said. Since basketball is her favorite sport, Waters feels very “happy and excited” when she plays. She said that being part of a team sport allows her to “work with other people” and “lean on your teammates” when things start to fall apart. As a student-athlete, Waters has learned how to work hard and achieve her goals and said it also helps with time management.

After the game, Waters said she felt “stabbed in the chest,” but was proud of how the team played together. Rasmussen said she felt that they “played as a team, not as five individuals,” and was also happy with the way the team played. “We’re going to take it to Clarinda, execute and bring it to them,” Rasmussen said.

Vargason also saw lots of improvement from the last time the girls played Kuemper, where they lost by nine points. Some of those improvements included running offensive sets better and being more aggressive to score on offense. Overall, Vargason thought the girls played their “most complete game” and were the “closest we have been to playing four quarters well” all season. He also thought it was the best game they’ve played as a team, whether the girls were on the bench or on the court.

In the past after a tough loss like this, Vargason said that the team has “taken a downward spiral.” However, he now emphasizes the need to “come in with intensity no matter who we play next,” and to “send a message that we are here to stay.”