LEXINGTON — The Centerburg Trojans finally ran into a team they couldn’t outrun.
The Trojans started Saturday’s game on a 1-for-14 shooting slump and never held the lead in their 61-47 loss to Liberty-Benton in their Division III regional final at Lexington High School.
Centerburg (21-5), which subs frequently and wins lots of games by wearing out opponents and shooting lights out late in games, couldn’t complete a shot when it mattered and appeared tired against a fired-up Liberty-Benton squad.
Centerburg, which had never gotten as far as a regional final before, held the earliest advantage possible: The crowd on Centerburg’s side of the Lexington gym was so large that dozens were standing in the aisles a full half-hour before the game started.
Once the game started, the crowd had little reason to cheer.
The Trojans scored just two points in the first 12 minutes of the game, when Kendall Compton hit a jumper from under the basket. From there, the Eagles (23-2) went on a 10-0 run that featured their best player, Cait Craft, act as a decoy. Instead, it was sophomore Rachel Myers who hit five of her 17 points during the run, with Craft getting two assists. By halftime, the 18-7 deficit was definitive.
“When you play with a good team, you have to play with them for four quarters,” said Centerburg head coach Todd Nauman. “That was the problem today. We started way too slow. Seven points in the first half is more like a three-minute time frame for us.”
Centerburg began to turn the game around late in the second, with Mackenzie Stoyle and Carly Compton scoring to keep pace with the Eagles. In the second half, the Trojans finally got the capacity crowd involved when Compton hit a shot and a foul. Although she missed the free throw, Stacy Fielding grabbed the offensive board and scored.