• Turnovers haunt Trojans in uplifting debut

  • Take away the turnovers, and the St. Mary’s girls basketball team’s season opener against West Platte couldn’t have gone much better.

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  • Take away the turnovers, and the St. Mary’s girls basketball team’s season opener against West Platte couldn’t have gone much better.
    Unfortunately, ignoring Monday night’s giveaways is like saying winter weather is pleasant if you overlook the snow, ice and cold temperatures.
    The Trojans suffered a 39-33 defeat at St. Mary’s High School in a contest in which they committed 33 turnovers. But even with all the miscues, St. Mary’s coach Krista Daniels said the positives far outweighed Monday’s negatives.
    Most encouraging to Daniels was her squad’s defense, which forced 28 takeaways of its own and held the Blue Jays to 16-of-48 shooting.
    The Trojans also displayed some resiliency. While West Platte maintained a comfortable seven-point margin for most of the second half, St. Mary’s produced a late 6-0 run to pull within 36-31 with 27 seconds left before the Jays finally pulled away.
    “They definitely played extremely hard from beginning to end,” Daniels said. “I mean, they really did. Sometimes you get first-game jitters and we struggled turning the ball over. ... But it was very positive all around, I’d have to say. It’s a good start for these girls.”
    The Trojans’ issues were easy to pinpoint. Once West Platte switched to a full-court press in the second quarter, St. Mary’s 7-6 lead flipped to a 19-13 halftime deficit as the Trojans turned the ball over 12 times in the period.
    St. Mary’s didn’t seem to struggle executing its pressbreaker, but the Trojans struggled to slow their pace back down once they got past half court.
    “We got really excited,” said senior guard Alexis Sirna, who scored six points, grabbed 11 boards and swiped four steals. “Once we broke the press, we were just so excited and like, ‘Oh gosh, we’ve got to hurry up and score.’ We need to learn to take it slow and set up our offense and move forward from there.”
    Despite a lack of size, St. Mary’s did more than hold its own on the boards, outrebounding West Platte 42-31. Sirna’s 11 paced the rebounding effort while sophomore Nina Gavoli seized eight and junior Selena Bedolla collected six.
    Freshman Victoria Kuestermeyer led the Trojans in scoring with eight points and added four boards and three steals off the bench. Senior Shayla Jochum posted seven points, five rebounds and three steals while Gavoli chipped in with six points and Bedolla notched five points, six rebounds and a pair of steals.
    The Trojans started the season with a loss, but they also garnered plenty of positive vibes in the process.
    “It’s a whole new atmosphere,” Gavoli said. “I’m usually mad about a loss, but this game was probably one of the most positive games we’ve had in a while.”
    Page 2 of 2 - WEST PLATTE 54, ST. MARY'S 44: The St. Mary's boys basketball team looked much improved in its season opener..
    The Trojans still fell to the defending district champion Blue Jays, but after being blown out by West Platte last year, St. Mary's coach Carlos Paige liked what he saw.
    "The team played really well," Paige said. "It's looking like it's going to be a good year for us. ... We might be closing the gap a little bit."
    Antonio Johnson paced St. Mary's with 14 points while Wade Johnson added 12.

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