Tripoli opens up early 14-point lead, trumps Trojets 57-43

BLAIRSBURG – A sluggish start defensively forced the Northeast Hamilton girls’ basketball team to play catch-up here Friday night, only Tripoli didn’t feel like being caught.

The Panthers stormed out to a 24-10 lead after 8 minutes and then made 10 of 12 free throws in the final period to knock off the Trojets, 57-43, in Iowa Star Conference play.

NEH (5-13, 4-11 ISC) opened the game in a zone defense before switching to man-to-man in the second quarter.

“We didn’t come out with any intensity defensively, and it wasn’t so much the zone as it was we just didn’t rebound out of it,” NEH head coach Bret Schutt said. “But once we switched to the man-to-man our intensity got better.”

The Trojets climbed to within nine early in the fourth quarter, but Tripoli (9-9, 6-9 ISC) didn’t give up any more ground.

“Give them credit because they did what they had to do down the stretch to get the win,” Schutt said.

Bobbi Moeller and McKayla Meyer combined to drill five 3-point buckets for the Panthers. Meyer finished with 13 points; Ashlen Damm led the team with 15.

Molly Greenfield (12) and Jenn Willems (10) reached double figures for the Trojets. Jennifer Jeffers fell a bucket short of a double-double; she had eight points and 11 rebounds.

NEH will host Dunkerton on Tuesday and Southeast Webster-Grand on Thursday. Both tilts will tip at 6:30 p.m.