CLEVELAND — Despite watching his team suffer through early shooting woes yet again, and falling behind 11-3 to Blessed Trinity, White County girls coach Jarvis Davenport never wavered.
“I believe in them and know they can get things going eventually. No real concerns at that time,” Davenport said after seeing his calm demeanor rewarded.
The Warriors turned to their defense after the slow start. Their swarming press sparked a 19-7 second-quarter run snagging 10 turnovers to grab the lead and they forced 9 more in the second half to pull away in the fourth quarter for a 53-38 win over the Titans in both teams’ Region 7-4A openers at the old White County gym on Throwback Night.
“We can play some defense and that has been our focus this year,” Davenport said. “We know the shots will eventually fall. But I’m real pleased with how we’re playing defense right now.”
The shooting woes for the Warriors (3-4, 1-0 Region 7-4A) in the early part of the season did continue as they opened the game just 1-of-10 from the field. They also missed their first five free throws.
The Titans took advantage as Erin Hynekamp poured in 9 quick points as they ran out to the 11-3 lead in the first 5:23 of the contest. But a rash of Blessed Trinity turnovers, mainly due to the Warriors’ press, changed the momentum.
White County’s pressure-induced 10 Titans turnovers in the second quarter. And the Warriors also finally found their stroke as they went 9-of-14 over the final nine minutes of the first half for a 27-20 advantage at halftime.
Five straight points by Naomi Crumley late in the first quarter sparked what would eventually turn into a 17-7 run that was capped by a Bentley Cronic 3-pointer to give White County its first lead at 20-18 with 1:28 left in the half. A Hynekamp basket tied it at 20 moments later but the Warriors closed out the half with a 7-0 run fueled by three more Blessed Trinity turnovers.
White County never trailed again and Blessed Trinity (4-4, 0-1 Region 7-4A) would only get as close three points, 36-33 early in the third quarter, the rest of the way.
After a Maddie Futch basket, the Titans got to within 42-36 on what would turn out to be Hynekamp’s final points -- she finished with a game-high 22 points -- with 3:22 left.
Instead of yielding a fourth-quarter lead, the Warriors this time, however, closed out the game with an 11-2 spurt.
“We’ve led in every game this year in the fourth quarter so the big thing for me is that we made plays and closed out the game strong,” Davenport said. “They just did their jobs out on the floor. This was big to start the region with a win. If we can get a little more consistent on the offensive end, I think this group can be real good.”
They forced 23 Blessed Trinity turnovers for 18 points.
The shooting troubles weren’t just out in the open. White County was a dismal 17-of-38 from the free-throw line as well. But Blessed Trinity was just 4-of-12 as the 13-point margin contributed to the final.
Cronic finished with 14 points to pace White County. Dasha Cannon added 12, 8 coming in the fourth quarter, and Futch and Crumley both poured in 11 points for the Warriors.
BLESSED TRINITY BOYS 52,
WHITE COUNTY 42
The Titans took the last of 11 first half lead changes and then held off White County in the second half for a Region 7-4A road win.
Blessed Trinity’s Jax Bauknight scored nine straight points as part of a 14-0 run to end the first half to give the Titans (4-4, 1-0 Region 7-4A) a 34-23 halftime lead. That came after the two teams were tied at 2, 4, 7, 9, 15, and 23 over the first 13 minutes.
White County (3-4, 0-1 Region 7-4A) fell behind by as much as 15 in the third quarter but Cooper Turner led a fourth quarter surge to get the Warriors within 47-41 with just over four minutes left.
But White County could manage just one free throw the rest of the way as the Titans nearly dribbled out the final two minutes of the game.
White County actually led 15-9 in the first quarter after an 8-0 run. But Blessed Trinity used a 7-0 to take a 16-15 after the opening period. The two teams then traded the lead on five consecutive possessions until the Titans pulled away late in the half.
Bauknight finished with 29 points, 25 in the first half, to lead Blessed Trinity.
Turner paced White County with 13 points. Silas Mulligan added 13 points and Jaden Yeh had 6 points for the Warriors.