Trinity tops Independent, wraps up CPL title
When Trinity Academy sophomore Alex Carro snagged the basketball for a steal in the first 45 seconds of the fourth quarter and dribbled up to the right wing, Knights coach Steve Miller knew what was coming.
“He had a look in his eye,” Miller said. “He does that a lot in practice. He’s a shooter.”
Carro hit the three-pointer, his only one of the night, but it gave Trinity an eight-point lead en route to a 63-52 win over visiting Independent.
The victory gave Trinity sole possession of the Central Plains League title with a 9-0 record, 15-5 overall.
“It means a ton,” said sophomore Matt Jones, who had a game-high 15 points. “Especially being my first year on varsity. We’re a young team, and it gives us a lot of confidence for the next few years.”
Trinity starts two sophomores, two juniors and senior Ryan Miller. The three main players off the bench are two sophomores and Mosley.
Miller and Burns each scored 10 points, while Preston Miller had 13.
Trinity, which lost to Independent by 13 on Jan. 4 in a non-league game, opened the game by hitting 8 of 13 field goals and 4 of 4 threes. Miller hit two straight followed by Burns’ three in less than two minutes.
The Knights’ offense faltered in the second quarter, though. While Independent recovered for a 34-30 halftime lead, Trinity missed 11 of 13 shots, failing to hit its second shot until the final 26 seconds.
Kevin Jarvis scored seven points in the period for Independent. He finished with 11, as did Brice Dean. Trey Williams had a team-high 13 points.
“We went brain dead in the second quarter,” Steve Miller said. “We just kind of lost it a little bit.”
Jones wasn’t worried, though.
“Well, basketball is a game of runs,” he said, shrugging his shoulders.
Jones rediscovered his shooting touch in the third quarter. He scored seven points in the first, hitting 3 of 4 shots. In the third, he scored eight, hitting 2 of 3 field goals and 4 of 4 free throws.
Independent’s offense went stagnant, though. The Knights shot 15 of 27 in the first half, then shot 6 of 28 in the second.
“We came out in the third quarter, and how many layups did we miss? We are 15-5 and should be 20-0, just because of layups and free throws,” Independent coach Rob Fields said.
Trinity’s offense recovered nicely, and after taking a three-point lead into the final period, the Knights’ offense gained momentum.
Burns scored, then Carro hit the three as part of a 12-3 run Independent couldn’t recover from.
Independent shot 6 of 28 from the field in the second half and was 9 of 20 from the free-throw line for the game.
“Brice did a great job of penetration and kicking. We have missed layup, missed layup, missed layup,” Fields said. “We should have had five three-point plays. Missed layup, missed layup. It gets mental.”
Miller chalked up Trinity’s strong second half to its defense.
“We really focus on defense in practice,” he said. “After we stretch and warm up, we go into defense. They live and die on that defense. They love to play it. With us not having a big man in the middle, with no one over 6-foot-1, no shot blocker, they have to dig that much deeper.”
INDEPENDENT: Dean 11, Loveland 6, Williams 13, Jarvis 11, Richmond 9, Gilman 2. Totals 21 (1) 9-20 52.
TRINITY: Jones 15, Loon 2, R. Miller 10, Burns 10, P. Miller 13, Carro 5, Shanks 6, Mosley 2. Totals 20 (8) 15-19 63.