CENTERBURG — The Centerburg Trojan girls basketball team has been red hot all season long.
Until Thursday’s game.
The Trojans shot an abysmal 19 percent (11-for-59) from the floor as they earned their first loss to the visiting Newark Catholic Green Wave, 48-36, in non-conference play.
It wasn’t like Centerburg (4-1) was completely blown out. The Trojans had fewer turnovers than Newark Catholic (14 versus 17). They out-rebounded the Green Wave, 42-36. They even managed an astounding 24 offensive boards.
They just couldn’t shoot.
“It’s all mental,” said Centerburg head coach Todd Nauman. “So, there’s no excuse about being tired or fatigued.”
Whatever the problem was, the players had it from the beginning. They missed their first five shots from the floor, spotting Newark Catholic a 6-0 lead, before finally getting on the board when Mikaela Weldy hit a shot off of an offensive rebound. Two free throws by Stacy Fielding put the Trojans to within two.
That was as close as it would get.
The Trojans tried everything. They attacked from the perimeter. They tried 12-foot jumpers. They tried layups. They tried alley-oops.
Cue the game show buzzer sound.
Centerburg went 2-for-29 (seven percent) from three-point land. Open shots were rimming out. At least five layups saw the ball rest on the rim before falling away. Most tip-in attempts were actually tipped out of bounds.
“The expectations for this team are relatively high,” said Nauman. “To come out on our home court and be not mentally ready to play. We had plenty of shots. We had plenty of opportunities inside the paint and some looks at three. We didn’t make them.”
Not everyone had a poor game for Centerburg. Carly Compton came within one rebound of a double-double, totaling 10 points and nine boards — seven and seven, respectively, in the second half.