January 19th, 2019

Trinity defeats Seneca, wins back-to-back LIT titles

Dalton Pence 

Staff Writer 

Trinity defeats Seneca, wins back-to-back LIT titles
Trinity wins back-to-back LIT titles/ photo by Dalton Pence

On Saturday afternoon at Valley High School, Trinity defeated Seneca 57-40 to claim their second consecutive Republic Bank LIT title. “It’s great, I’m proud of our team for gutting it out and finding a way to win”, Trinity head coach Mike Szabo said. 


The first half started out at a fast pace with Trinity racing out to a 20-10 first quarter lead after Jamil Hardaway’s three lay-ups. However, the Rocks’ attempt to break the game open was delayed in the second quarter. 


Carl Parker went on a 5-0 scoring run of his own to bring Seneca back to within 11 and Tim Gordon’s pair of free throws capped off a 9-2 overall run by the Redhawks to end the half trailing 28-19. Both teams shot poorly from deep (16.7%), but a 12-5 turnover margin in favor of Trinity played a big role in the deficit. 


The third quarter was all about Stan Turnier. The senior forward nailed three perimeter shots en route to scoring 11 of Trinity’s 17 third quarter points. “I shot the ball pretty well”, he said, “my teammates were able to find me in open spots and that was really the difference there.” Turnier finished with a team-high 16 points.


 Kolton Rice and Ethan Hodge also converged lay-ups of their own off of steals to extend the Trinity lead to 45-25 going into the final period. 


The progress that Trinity had made in the previous quarter was quickly erased when Seneca conducted its own 9-0 run early in the fourth period. Fortunately for Szabo’s squad, the sloppy play was corrected and the run stalled. 


A 12-3 run soon followed, capped off by a dunk in the lane by David Johnson. In the end, the lead proved to be too large and Trinity won comfortably 57-40. 


Johnson was named the tournament’s most valuable player, with Hardaway and Kamari Kenemore also getting named to the all-tournament team. “He’s a special person”, Szabo said, “he’s a great leader. He wants to win and he’s going to do whatever it takes to win.”


Despite a performance that wasn’t great for his standards (six points, five rebounds, five assists), he raved about how well his teammates have played. “It’s a beautiful feeling”, Johnson said, “knowing that all of our hard work and practice in the offseason is paying off.”


Rice and Hardaway also had 11 and 10 points respectively, to pace the Rocks. 


The Redhawks were led by Parker (13 points and eight rebounds), Gordon (seven points), and Richard Ninamou (12 points and nine rebounds). 


When highlighting what led to the victory, Szabo credited rebounding. “We did not do a good job on the boards in the first half, the second half was the difference”, he said, “we gave up one offensive rebound in the second half (eight in the first half). 


Seneca drops to 13-6 on the season and will return to action on Tuesday when they travel to Moore. The Rocks move to 14-5, marking their fifth straight win. 


“I thought our route getting here was a difficult one”, Szabo said, “going through Male and Waggener, two really good teams, and then obviously Seneca’s playing great. I give them a lot of credit, they’ve improved a ton and they’re playing good basketball.”


Trinity will travel to Henry Clay on Tuesday. 


TRINITY: 20   8   17   12- 57


SENECA: 10   9   6   15- 40


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