March 23rd, 2021

Rocks Defeat Tigers to Advance in the 7th Region

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Ed Peak

Staff Writer


Rocks Defeat Tigers to Advance in the 7th Region
photo by Ed Peak

 Zach Stahlman is one of four seniors on the Trinity roster. The 6-foot-2 forward met with his teammates after practices and before its game with rival St. Xavier in the Seventh Region Tournament. The Rocks (18-5) had lost four straight to the Tigers.

 

The Rocks broke that streak in posting a hard fought 62-58 win over the Tigers, Monday night on Dennis Lampley court. Ethan Hodge led the Rocks with 21 points, three rebounds and two assist.

 

Stahlman added 15 points, nine rebounds had three assist and three steals. With around four minutes to play Stahlman fed reserve big man David Pfeifer with a pass near the basket for an easy layup. That pushed the Rocks lead to 52-45. The lead grew to 58-48 before St. X rallied. 

 

"The whole game we were just trying to keep the lead, keep the lead," said Stahlman. "We just wanted to keep attacking. Just make the right play.

 

"This was the biggest win our seniors had as a class by far, " said Stahlman. "We played hard and with a lot of intensity. Our goal with our (defense) was to play switch up. Play man to man, 2-3, a little special. We matched up on their two best players and played a little triangle (on Ayden Mudd and Ben Varga)."

 

Trinity advances to play Ballard, an 80-47, winner on Central. Trinity beat their east end rivals 102-85 in double overtime on February 23.

St. X (19-7) had wins of 62-54 and 57-56 over Trinity in the Louisville Invitational Tournament. 

 

"I thought that was the best that Trinity has played in all three and the score was in favor of them," said St. X coach Kevin Klein. "They came out and really took it to us. The best thing about this group (St. X) is they never, never quit a day in their life. When we were down eight everybody in our huddle knew we had one more punch in us.”

 

"People in the stands didn't believe it," said Klein. "But to get the ball with in a one possession game under 10 seconds fighting through adversity. That speaks volumes about what these kids are all about."

 

Varga a senior led the Tigers with 24 points while Mekhi Smith added 23. Bellarmine commit Ayden Mudd was held to five points, didn't take a shot after halftime and had six rebounds. Mudd had 20 rebounds in last seasons win at Trinity.

 

The Shamrocks controlled the game pretty much all night and their biggest lead was 54-45 after Pfeifer's second layup. Varga had eight late points including a three with 34 seconds trimming the Rocks lead to 61-58. That was as close as St. X would get.

 

"The bottom line is you want to play well and we played well tonight," said Trinity coach Mike Szabo. "I thought our team really fought and played hard tonight. It was an awesome ball game like it always is."

Smith was 10 of 16 from the floor while the rest of the team was 12 of 29 for 41 percent. The Rocks out rebounded St. X 23-17 and shot (20 of 37) for 54 percent from the field.

 

"Our guys were locked in," said Szabo. "They were focused all night long."

 

Varga a senior was eight of 17 from the field including six of 12 threes. He finishes his career as the leading St. X three point shooter in Tiger history. He has 102 threes this season second, in the state. 

 

"They made some great plays at the end," said Szabo. "That Varga is a great shooter."

 

Klein was proud of his teams effort. "I'm disappointed that I won't be able to go back to war with theses guys and practicing. I'll miss these seniors. The last night of the season is always the saddest. We really had our sites on Rupp Arena (State Tournament)."

 

Trinity the 2019 State Champion took a step in that direction.

 

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