Trinity Academy never counted themselves out Thursday despite a fast start by a hot-shooting Grace Christian team.
The Tigers trailed by 11 points at halftime, but nearly doubled their offensive output in the second half to take a 60-53 win over the Eagles.
“I told them that we weren’t far away,” Trinity coach DeShannon Morris said. “It was just a couple of missed shots and second-chance opportunities for the other guys. We just needed to bring it up about two notches on defense and that would do it. Our defense translates to offense.”
Trinity opened the second half in a full-court press, which gave Grace some trouble, allowing the Tigers a 7-0 run as the Eagles were held without a field goal for more than three and a half minutes.
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The Tigers were able to close the gap, making it a one-possession game entering the fourth quarter.
Trinity senior Hunter Dotson scored the first 7 points of the fourth quarter, helping the Tigers take a lead they would never relinquish. Dotson finished with a game-high 22 points.
“We had great senior leadership in Hunter Dotson and Thad Beaver stepping up. We have a true freshman in Messiah Pankey, and he’s so calm and collected,” Morris said. “Those guys really stepped up for us, and then the bench was just so alive and the atmosphere was so great and we really thrive off of that.”
Grace (1-6), which started the game hitting seven of 11 3-point attempts in the first half, never looked settled against the Tigers’ pressure in the second half.
The Eagles were led by Alex Moore with 14 points.
Pankey finished with 19 points, 10 rebounds and 4 assists for Trinity (3-4).
“We’re very gritty, and we have great senior leadership and we have a young pool of talent that is growing up before us,” Morris said. “I expect us to get better as the season goes on. I expect us to come out and defend every night and glorify God in all that we do and just stay together, stay positive and stay up.”
Trinity girls hold off Eagles
Kristi Demski scored 21 points to lead Trinity to a 38-35 win Grace in the girls varsity matchup.
The Tigers held a one-point lead at the half, and staved off an unyielding Eagles effort that saw Grace come up short on three long-range attempts to tie the game in the final seconds. The third Grace 3-point attempt was blocked by Bemski to help Trinity (2-5) hold on for its second straight win after starting the season 0-5.
Trinity stayed composed late in the game, making 9 of 12 free throws in the fourth quarter as Grace fouled often to stop the clock.
Carol-Anne Obusek led Grace (1-7) with 17 points, including eight in the fourth as the Eagles rallied.