The victory halted a four-game losing streak for the Lady Eagles and improved their record to 6-17, 2-9 in Region 6A-A.
“It was a big win for us, one that could help us gain some momentum going into the region tournament,” Excel coach Michael Roberson said.
Trion was clicking offensively at the start of the game and used its shooting touch to take a 12-5 lead.
Roberson said in the second quarter he switched to a zone defense away from use of a man-to-man defense by the Lady Eagles and saw immediate results.
The Lady Eagles outscored Trion 9-6 in the second frame and narrowed their gap with the Lady Bulldogs to 18-14 at the break. Both teams scored eight points in the third quarter, which Trion closed with a 26-22 lead.
In the final frame, Excel exploded for 18 points while allowing three points of its host.
“We couldn’t guard them man-to-man and a lot of times we seemed to get lost in their screens,” he said. “Trion is like us. They have trouble scoring sometimes and they missed a lot of shots against our zone.”
He said after Excel slipped into the lead, at 29-27, it took control of the game, scoring 11 points while allowing three the rest of the way.
“I felt if we could get over the hump, it would be a big confidence builder for us,” he said, “and it was. We did much better after that.”
He said Excel rebounded well from the past three games when it competed against three state powers who happen to be a part of their region.
“Our girls felt like they could win against Trion and that helped,” he said. “After we caught them, our girls got more and more confident with every shot we made.”
Andrea Taylor and Emily Willingham scored 14 each to lead Excel, with Taylor’s points coming from two field goals and 9-of-10 shooting at the charity line. She was 4-of-5 there in the final quarter.
Also contributing offensively toward Excel’s victory were Abby Keefe and Catie Metcalf, with six points each.
Excel returns to the hardwood Tuesday, when it hosts Mount Zion. Tipoff is at 6 p.m. The school also will mark senior night.
Roberson said the Lady Eagles now need to focus on giving a similar performance against their Tuesday opponent.