March 2nd, 2019

Trinity captures seventh region title

Dalton Pence 

Staff Writer 

Trinity captures seventh region title
Trinity defeated Ballard to advance to state/ photo by Dalton Pence

On Saturday evening, Trinity defeated Ballard 59-37 in the championship of the seventh region tournament at Valley High School. The victory marks their second consecutive regional title.

“I’m really proud of those guys. That was a complete team effort”, Trinity head coach Mike Szabo said, “those guys really stepped up big.”

Ballard scored the first two points of the contest, but it would be all Trinity from that point on. Two triples from Kolton Rice sparked an 8-0 run for the Rocks in the first quarter; he would finish the period with eight points as David Johnson failed to get on the board.

Trinity capitalized on multiple turnovers in the first half, which propelled them to a 31-15 lead. Ballard, who had problems figuring out the Trinity zone, struggled to hold on to the ball, giving it away 11 times in the first two quarters.

Johnson only finished with five points, primarily because of Ballard’s face-guarding tactics that made it difficult for him to get good looks. However, that didn’t matter.

Stan Turner banged home two three-pointers in the third quarter and Jamil Hardaway’s hustle pushed the lead even further. Lewis Richards tallied nine points in the period, but Ballard needed more offensive rhythm to come back in this one.

“We all had to come together as a team to step up”, Rice explained, “Dave played hard and we came together as a team.”

Not much changed in the fourth, and the Rocks won soundly. Hardaway (12 points, five rebounds) and Rice (25 points) led Trinity. Ballard was paced by Richards and Walter Johnson with 14 and 11 points, respectively.

For Trinity, Rice’s performance couldn’t have come at a better time. “Kolton Rice had the best game of his career and we needed it”, said Szabo. “He plays his role and he played great.”

“I knew it was an elimination game and we had to win to go to Rupp (Arena)”, Rice said, “I just came out to play my hardest.”

The Bruins turned the ball over 16 times compared to just two from Trinity, which proved too big a big factor in Saturday’s game. “Getting ten turnovers in the first half was huge for us”, Szabo added. 

Ballard finishes the season 23-12; Trinity will advance to next week’s state tournament held at Rupp Arena to play against the region 15 champion on Wednesday at 1:30.

Trinity’s focus now turns toward the state tournament, but Szabo did not hesitate to share his thoughts regarding about this year’s team up to this point. “These guys have been so much fun to be around”, he said, “this has been one of the best seasons I’ve ever had as a coach as far as having a group of young men that just bought in to what we were doing as a coaching staff; no egos, just great chemistry, I did not have one bad day with these guys all year.”


TRINITY: 16   15   14   14- 59

BALLARD: 8   7   15   7- 37


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