Tri County’s suffocating full court press defense was too much to over for the Wilber-Clatonia basketball team on Thursday during the team’s season opener.
The Trojans shut out the Wolverines in the first quarter and nearly replicated the effort in the second quarter by giving up only two points to build a 21-2 halftime lead.
Tri County continued their relentless effort on the defensive end in the second half, outscoring Wilber 17-7 in the last 16 minutes of play to get the 38-9 win.
“It’s something we’ve put a lot of time into the practices the first few weeks. We definitely want that to be our identity, to press, to speed up the game, and help us get easy baskets,” Tri County head coach Bryce Simpson said. “For the first game I thought, especially early in the first and early in the third, I thought we executed pretty well in that press when we were fresh.”
The Trojans paired their tough defense with an extraordinary night in the rebounding department. Tri County snagged a total of 41 rebounds, led by Madison Freese’s 11 boards. The 5-foot-8 junior added seven points to finish three points shy a double-double.
Simpson added that with his team’s lack of size, they’ll need to continue to use the same recipe for success as they did on Thursday night to continue their success.
“We’re not a very big team height wise, but I think we’re pretty quick and athletic. That’s something we’ve told our girls that we may be undersized, but we still need to crash the boards and use that quickness and put more pressure on the defense to limit us to one shot,” he said. “I did like our effort, we crashed the boards on both ends, but we still have room for improvement.”
Tri County used a variety of scorers, seven in total, to come away with the victory. Shayna Lijewski led the way for the Trojans with 11 points, which included three 3-pointers.
Freese was second on the team with seven points, while Shae Wattje and Kailey Wiechel each tallied five apiece.
Tri County (1-0) will host Heartland on Saturday and Wilber-Clatonia will head to Heartland on Friday.