Trinity again stands tall in CPL
Height is so overrated.
Trinity and its band of 6-foot-and-under players proved as much on Tuesday evening, marching onto Independent’s home court on its senior night with the Central Plains League title on the line, and prevailing 61-47 to secure back-to-back league titles.
Both teams concluded the season with 14-6 records.
“I’m just blessed with hard workers,” Trinity coach Steve Miller said. “The size doesn’t bother us. We talk about it, that we have to help one another in the low post, but they’re just scrappers and they get after it.”
The Knights’ season has been a series of proving notions false, and on Tuesday they sent Independent reeling on its home court, scrambling to cover the 4-guard lineup instead of forcing Trinity to account for its height deficiencies.
In fact, the lack of height has not been a deficiency at all this season. Up against a taller lineup once again on Tuesday, Trinity grabbed nine offensive rebounds and won the rebounding battle convincingly, 32-18.
“We may be small,” senior Phillip Miller said, “but we’re feisty.”
Each team struggled for consistency in the first half, leaving the title up for grabs for the first team to settle in. That was Trinity, as Miller connected on three straight three-pointers to open the third quarter.
Matthew Jones followed Miller’s lead and canned a corner three, then Jacob Johnson swished another. Trinity made its first five shots beyond the arc in the third quarter, leaving Independent astonished as the margin grew to 15 points at the end of the quarter.
“We live for this,” Miller said. “These are the best games. I’m a senior leader on this team and I had to step up and make those big shots.”
“Once one goes, we go for more,” Alex Carro added. “Once we see blood, we keep going.”
Independent had an inkling of hope when it drew to within nine points, 48-39, with 4:40 remaining, but Carro, Miller, and Ben Mosley made a combined 11 of 13 free throws to close out the game in the final four minutes.
There isn’t much about the way this team plays basketball that could be considered traditional, so it would make sense that they wouldn’t celebrate like a normal team either.
After every game, win or lose, the team comes together in the locker room to sing the Doxology, a tradition started midway through this season.
“A lot of these guys are on the choir,” Miller said, chuckling. “They all have great voices, but it doesn’t always sound like it.”
Late into the night on Tuesday, Trinity was singing its favorite version of the chorus. And as the last note arrived, with many of the players stretching “Holy Ghost” an extra second longer, the room reached a fever pitch.
In this moment, it didn’t matter that none of them stood taller than 6-1. It didn’t matter no one was a post player.
Trinity was league champs again.
“We came a long way to get here,” Carro said. “This is the game you circle every time on the calendar. At Independent, you always want that one.”
TRINITY: Carro 19, Miller 14, Burns 9, List 6, Mosley 3, Johnson 3, Loon 2.
INDEPENDENT: Kay 10, Miranda 9, Mitchell 9, Eikleberry 8, Gilman 4, Richmond 4, Chandler 2, Williams 1.