Trojans come from behind to break 21 game losing streak

The STC?Trojans basketball team was finally able to celebrate a victory after defeating Independence 36-27 on Tuesday, February 11. News Herald Photo/Allison Graham

Video: https://youtu.be/S7ELtCVODQ4

After 21 straight losses the STC Trojans finally captured a win on Tuesday, February 11 in the Round House. The Trojans hosted Independence (3-18) for the final regular season game of the year.

The first meeting between the two teams occurred earlier this season. In that contest Independence outscored South Tama 15-4 in the first quarter and 14-9 in the second quarter. Tuesday the Trojans played a much stronger defense and managed to keep the score quite low. After the first quarter the score was just 5-4 with the Mustangs having a one point advantage. At half Independence pulled away a bit and were leading 17-8.

Coach Todd Dale knew the first quarter would be crucial for the Trojans and that was his focus going into the night.

“I’m excited. I’m excited for the girls. They’ve worked so hard this season. The improvement has been there we just haven’t been able to put a full game together. We came out in the first quarter and kept it a low scoring affair and that is what we needed to do. I knew if we could do that we would have a good chance coming in at the end of the game and we did,” said Dale.

Makayla Backen is escorted onto the court for Senior Night on Tuesday, February 11 at the Round House. News Herald Photo/Allison Graham

It wasn’t a very pretty win. There were lots and lots of turnovers from both teams and also lots of fouls but the win was long overdue for the Trojans.

Coming out of the half the Trojans began to chip away at Independence’s lead. Tylese Rosenberger scored her third point of the night from the free throw line. She then added a layup. Adrianna Cervantes also put points on the board as well as playing a big role in the Trojans defensive game by snagging several rebounds.

The Trojans had to be careful though because both Rosenberger and Bre Riha had each collected three fouls in the first half.

“It scared the living daylights out of me. They just have to play though. They can’t worry about their fouls they have to go out and play tough and they did. They played smart and that’s all you can ask for,” said Dale.

The fourth quarter is where the Trojans finally closed the gap and took over the lead. With five minutes to go Lauren Veit hit a three point shot to take the lead 25-23. The Trojans never looked back.

As the minutes began to tick off, Independence was forced into a situation where they had to foul STC to get the ball back. Rosenberger, Riha and Veit were all sent to the line in the final minute each hitting clutch free throws to build and secure their lead. The game ended with the Trojans winning 36-27. The players and fans were ecstatic for the team as the Victory light hanging on the outside of the Round house was finally able to be lit.

Not only did the Trojans celebrate a win but it was also senior night. The lone senior on the team, Makayla Backen, has been cheering from the bench for much of the season after suffering a season ending injury. Backen was escorted to half court by her teammates noticeably on crutches. She met up with her parents and also received a warm welcoming from her coaches.

“Makayla’s role has always been a big one. She is the mental leader for us. We miss her in games like this. She’s someone you want to have out there but the rest of the kids did a great job tonight. It’s the calmness that she brings to the court that we really miss,” said Dale.

The Trojans will take on North Polk for the first round of girls regional play Saturday evening at North Polk. Tip off is at 7 p.m.