Trojans Hold Off Huntington, Reach Crossroads League Championship
UPLAND, Ind. – The Crossroads League Tournament Semifinals matchup between No. 7 Taylor and RV Huntington (21-11) came down to the wire, as TU grabbed the win, 66-64. With the victory, the Trojans secured a spot in the Crossroads League Championship game for the third-straight year.
Second-seeded Taylor (29-3) held the advantage for all but two minutes of the second half and faced that stretch in the closing minutes of the contest. Abby Buchs regained control for TU with a steal and fast break score, giving the team a two-point lead with 40 seconds on the clock. The senior came up clutch again as time expired, blocking Huntington’s three-point attempt for the upset.
Buchs paced the squad with 13 points on the night, collecting five in the fourth quarter. The Angola, Indiana native also led the Trojans with nine boards, while making an all-around contribution with two steals, two assists and the game-clinching block.
The Purple and Gold rallied in the second and third quarters, putting together an 18-2 run to gather a double-digit advantage. Kayla Kirtley sparked the strong stretch with a pair of triples at the end of the half. In the second period, Taylor doubled up Huntington within its scoring outburst, 28-14.
Haley Stratman was one of four Trojans who notched at least 10 points on Friday. The senior forward netted 12 points with two treys and five rebounds. Becca Buchs also offered 12 points, including six rebounds and one three-pointer, which extended her streak to 59-consecutive games with a three-point basket.
The TU squad maintained its strong chemistry on offense with 17 assists in the win. Merideth Deckard tied a career-high of six assists, while Sydney Huffman followed closely with five. Huffman also finished with 11 points for her 12th game with double figures in the scoring column.
No. 7 Taylor will compete in the Crossroads League Tournament Championship on Monday, hitting the road to face No. 3 and top-seeded Marian (29-3) at 7:00 pm.
Marian won the Crossroads League regular season title to lock up one of the league’s two automatic bids to the NAIA Division II National Tournament. The Trojans will take the league’s second automatic bid to the national tournament due to reaching the Crossroads League Tournament Championship and facing Marian.
On Saturday, Taylor’s men’s basketball squad will battle in the Crossroads League Tournament Semifinals against Bethel in Odle Arena at 3:00 pm.