January 21st, 2018

Rocks win first LIT title in five years

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Conor Revell

Managing Editor


Rocks win first LIT title in five years
Trinity with the LIT championship trophy / photo by Conor Revell

Trinity’s basketball team weathered storm after storm as Doss simply wouldn’t go away.

But, David Johnson and Jay Scrubb stepped up, and the Shamrocks survived defeating Doss 66-58 Sunday at Manual High to win the Republic Bank Louisville Invitational Tournament title.

“Those are two great players,” Trinity head coach Mike Szabo. “They can do that and they did, I’m proud of them. They were very focused and aggressive down the stretch.”

It’s Trinity’s fifth LIT championship, first since 2013, and avenges its losses to Ballard and Fern Creek in the previous two title games in 2015 and 16.

“This is going to give us the confidence to do more,” Scubb said. “We want to prove to people that we are the best team in the state.”

The Rocks had to grind it out to bring it home as there were 20 lead changes and six ties throughout the game.

“We had to stay calm and run what we know,” Johnson said. “They were playing aggressive so we had to be even more aggressive than them. We did that and started executing.”

Other than the final margin, Trinity’s biggest lead was 21-15 at the end of the first quarter and the Dragons had a 42-37 lead in the third quarter, its largest of the game.

There were five lead changes in the final quarter, but the Rocks went up 56-54 on a Jay Scrubb dunk and Doss never led again.

“We started playing as a team and not as individuals,” Scrubb said. “We started playing as a team and we were finding the open man.”

Trinity ended the game with a 12-4 run to capture the title.

“We had a lot better possessions,” Szabo said. “We were a lot more focused and we knew what we were doing. We had a lot better execution. They were being stronger and more aggressive around the basket. They were crashing the boards and getting rebounds. I thought we fought hard down the stretch.”

Jamil Hardaway iced the game with back-to-back layups in the final 30 seconds.

“We knew they were going to press,” Hardaway said. “I’m not the greatest runner so I just try to get out of the way and we were lucky enough that they were pressing too hard and I was able to breakaway and get easy layups.”

Trinity made 27 of 49 (55.1 percent) from the field including 6 of 19 from three-point land and 6 of 9 from the foul line.

“We watched film right before the game,” Szabo said. “I showed them a bunch of clips of the mistakes we made yesterday. I just wasn’t okay with that. I think we played a little bit better today, but not really. I think you’re seeing all the teams being a little sloppy right now. The holidays and snow. I think we just need to get back in the gym and refine stuff.”

Scrubb was named MVP and led the Rocks with 29 points, hitting 12 of 20 from the field including 1 of 5 from three-point land, and 4 of 5 from the charity stripe.

“I was driving and hitting the gap,” Scrubb said. “I wanted to create open shots for my teammates and myself.”

Johnson added 13 points and was 5 of 9 from the floor including 1 of 4 from three-point land and had six assists, three rebounds, and two steals.

Hardaway added 10 points and five rebounds while Justin Powell recorded eight points and Stan Turnier chipped in six points.

“We just had to play better defense down the stretch,” Hardaway said. “We played our best defense of the game in the fourth quarter and it showed.”

Doss hit 24 of 58 (41.4 percent) including 5 of 17 (29.4 percent) three pointers and 5 of 7 (71.4) from the free-throw line.

Taye Calloway led Doss with 23 points hitting 9 of 20 from the field including 5 of 10 from three-point land.

“We had to adjust with him and make sure we didn’t come off of him,” Johnson said. “We know he is a good player. He’s going to make some shots and we had to keep an eye on him and get in his face.”

Jeremiah Boyd added eight points and four rebounds while Stephon Franklin finished with six points and five assists and ShawnKel Knight-Goff had six points.

 

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