(TRINIDAD, Colo.) – One buzzer-beater wasn't enough for the Lady Trojans Saturday night against Western Texas College at Scott Gym. TSJC needed a last second three to send the game into overtime, and another at the end of OT to claim the 78-76 breath-taking victory. This was all on the heels of a heartbreaking loss the previous night when the Trojans fell to #11 ranked Midland College in overtime.
It has been a tremendous start for the Lady Trojans in the fall of 2016. They have shown their metal against some top-level competition and have risen to the challenge every time. This past weekend it all went down at the TSJC Classic in Scott Gym. Midland entered the game ranked #11 in the NJCAA polls. The Lady Trojans never waivered against the Chaparrals huge height advantage, battling hard in the paint for over 40 minutes. A late free throw by Kaila Gabriel sent the game into overtime, but in the extra time the Trojans went cold, falling by a final of 68-56. Alaynna Latimore had a great game for TSJC with 16 points and Annette Warner was big in the paint with 12 points and 8 rebounds.
"I was very proud of the effort for forty minutes from our girls on Friday night," commented Head Coach Rich Holden. "It's too bad that we ran out of gas in the overtime and started putting them on the line by losing defensive position. Our press really wore Midland down and looked better than it has all year."
On Saturday the Trojans had a more difficult time keeping pace with Western. TSJC trailed 32-23 at the half and even midway through the final quarter showed no sign of closing the gap. Trailing by 13 with less than four minutes remaining they turned on the jets. WTC went cold from the line and the Trojan hustle paid dividends as they got multiple shots almost ever time down the floor. TSJC got it within one but a pair of free throws with less than ten seconds moved the margin back to three. Guard Shahennessey Bradford took the following inbound pass and moved it the length of the court, a couple of fakes later she cashed a three from the top of the key to send it into overtime tied at 70. The Trojans had the momentum going into the extra period but still found themselves trailing in the closing seconds. This time it was Latimore who took it the length of the floor and drained a three to give TSJC the 78-76 lead with three seconds left. Western missed their final attempt and the Trojans prevailed in one of the most exciting endings Scott Gym has seen in a long time. Warner finished with a double-double of 17 points and 10 boards, and the rest scoring for the Trojans was very balanced with 11 players getting in the book.
"I thought that Saturday night was a great indication of the amount of fight that these Lady Trojans have inside them," praised Holden. "Our motion offense was stagnant most of the night, then after a couple of fast breaks in the third quarter it really started to click. The good Lord smiled on us in the final moments of the game and the overtime and we are grateful, Henn (Shahennessey Bradford) and Alayna (Latimore) put those shots on line and the backboard helped us out."
Things don't get easier for the Trojans (3-3) as they will head to Arizona for a pair of games with Mesa Community College on Friday and Cochise College on Saturday. TSJC will return home to open Region IX play on November 30 against Northeastern Junior College. Tip is set for 5 p.m. that evening.