January 22, 2017
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NOW: 39°
HI 55 / LO 36

Trojans keeping pace

Caira passes 1,000-point plateau


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BY JEREMY REEVES


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jreeves@kenoshanews.com

The Tremper girls basketball team’s recent dominance over Bradford continued Tuesday night.

After the Red Devils kept it close for a while, the Trojans began pulling away late in the first half en route to a 64-47 victory — their 14th consecutive win over their Southeast Conference and crosstown rival — at the Bradford Fieldhouse.

Tremper improved to 5-0 in the SEC — remaining in a first-place tie with Oak Creek — and to 7-5 overall, while Bradford fell to 2-10 and 0-6.

The Trojans scored in just about every way as Kelsey Coshun tallied a team-high 19 points, Amari Whittington added 16, Janelle Caira 15 and Amanda Verheyen eight.

“The balanced scoring is great to see,” Tremper coach Rod Gross said. “Kelsey and Amari playing in the post, Amanda shooting from the outside — which is her strength — and Janelle doing her thing and driving to the basket. When we can put it all together, we can be a very competitive team.”

Whittington poured in the Trojans’ first 11 points, and her three-point play with 8 minutes, 28 seconds left in the first half gave Tremper a 9-7 lead, one it never relinquished.

Sophomore guard Grace Scalzo (game-high and personal season-high 23 points, five 3-pointers) hit a 3 to pull the Red Devils within 17-13 with 5 minutes, 12 seconds left in the opening half, only to see the Trojans close it on an 11-4 run to take a 28-17 halftime lead.

Verheyen buried her two 3s during that spurt, and Caira scored her only bucket of the first half on a putback.

Tremper essentially put the game out of reach in the first 4 minutes of the second half as Caira converted three driving layups, Ayanna Ester splashed a 3 and Whittington scored inside to boost the lead to 39-20.

Special moment

With 10:57 remaining, Caira drilled her only outside shot of the night — a 3 — to give Tremper a 48-28 cushion and 1,000 points for her career.

A four-year starter and 5-foot-7 point guard, Caira received a brief ovation after the public-address announcer alerted the crowd of her accomplishment.

She joins school record-holder Lindsey Sebetic (1,305 points) and Nichole Drummond (1,196) as the only Trojans to score 1,000-plus points in Gross’ 16 seasons as head coach.

“It’s good, I like it a lot,” Caira said. “It wasn’t even in my mind (as a freshman that such a feat would be possible).”

Added Gross: “I’ve been fortunate enough to be around long enough to have three players score 1,000 points ... and it’s special every time. It’s a huge milestone for Janelle tonight, and it’s neat to see that type of accomplishment happen within your program.

“Those players come around once in a while, and I’m happy and proud for Janelle. She deserves it.”

Coshun, a 6-foot junior, tallied 13 points after the intermission to thwart any hope of a Bradford comeback.

She said the Trojans’ confidence keeps growing.

“I think every time we take a win in the conference, we get closer as a team, get better,” Coshun said.

“We’ve just got to keep working hard.”

Bradford coach Nicole Stein said she was proud of her undersized and injured team’s performance, especially in the early going, and of Scalzo’s big night.

“The nice thing was that my girls never gave up,” she said.


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