Boys: Lexington Catholic dominates Henry Clay, sets up finals matchup with Trinity

No. 10 takes on No. 1 for Classic title

mfields@herald-leader.comDecember 30, 2011 

Lexington Catholic turned Henry Clay inside out while winning their semifinal battle in the Republic Bank Holiday Classic on Thursday night.

The Knights' combination of a strong post game (6-foot-9 junior Jack Whitman) and a lethal perimeter game (deadly three-point shooting) carried them to a 75-61 victory.

No. 10 Lexington Catholic will face No. 1 Trinity in Friday's 7 p.m. title game.

Trinity blasted Bardstown 78-55 in their semifinal Thursday night.

Lexington Catholic Coach Brandon Salsman said people were "snickering" when his inexperienced team was in the top 10 pre-season ratings.

"But I think we served notice tonight we're pretty good. Our guys have been playing Catholic basketball since birth, so they know what to do and they know how to do it.

"When they play together like they did tonight, we're really good."

No. 12 Henry Clay won't argue after Lexington Catholic ran its record to 12-1.

Whitman was dominant inside, powering his way to 24 points (all in the first three quarters), 11 rebounds and four blocked shots.

"This is the first time we've played a big man like him with his skills," Henry Clay Coach Daniel Brown said. "We were hoping to push him out and be physical, but he responded."

The Knights had their outside radar tuned in. They were 9-for-17 on three-pointers. Craig Floyd and Dillon Avare had three threes each. Floyd finished with 16 points and six rebounds. Avare had 13 points.

Patrick Keller and Bryan Woomer also hit bombs while combining for 15 points. Keller had seven rebounds.Woomer added seven assists.

Whitman loves it when his teammates are sniping from the outside. "That makes it a lot easier because the other team stops packing it in on me and it gives me time to make my moves."

Brown said Lexington Catholic's balanced attack was too much for his young team.

"They shot the fire out of it," he said. "When you shoot 52 percent from three, and you have a big inside presence like (Whitman), that makes it tough on anybody."

Christien Cunningham, a sophomore point guard, led Henry Clay with 15 points, five assists and four steals. Jordan Green had 13 points.

Trinity 78, Bardstown 55: For the second night in a row, the Shamrocks pressure-cooked an opponent early.

On Wednesday, Trinity limited Lakota West, Ohio, to 15 percent shooting (4-for-26) and led 26-11 at the half. On Thursday, it held No. 23 Bardstown to 17 percent shooting (4-for-24) and led 34-14.

"Really great effort. I love it," Trinity Coach Mike Szabo said of his team's intensity against Bardstown in the opening 16 minutes. "I thought we dominated at the defensive end with just being tough."

Trinity led by as many as 27 points in the second half as Szabo gave his bench plenty of playing time.

Darry Hicks led the winners with 15 points. Charles Foster and Nathan Dieudonne had 13 apiece. Dieudonne had 10 rebounds. Troy Saxton had seven points and six assists.

Bardstown was led by Jordan Brewer's 16 points, and Anthony Myrks' 12 points, six rebounds and four steals.

Trinity is 7-0 against Kentucky competition. It lost to St. Raymond, N.Y., and Salesian, Calif., in a Florida tournament last week.

Trinity won Lexington Catholic's tournament in 2004 and 2009. It beat the host Knights 60-58 in overtime in the '09 finals.

HENRY CLAY (8-5) — Green 6-13 0-1 13, Grundy 2-3 0-2 4, Cunningham 7-13 1-2 15, Tichenor 1-9 0-1 2, Kimball 2-4 1-2 5, Ware 4-6 0-0 11, Blackburn 5-7 0-0 11. Totals 27-55 2-8 61.

LEXINGTON CATHOLIC (12-1) — Whitman 9-14 6-9 24, Avare 3-4 4-6 13, Floyd 6-12 1-2 16, Keller 3-9 0-0 7, Woomer 2-2 2-2 8, Muncy 0-2 0-1 0, Bennett 1-3 1-2 3, Banahan 1-1 2-2 4. Totals 25-47 16-24 75.

Henry Clay 17 13 16 15—61

Lexington Catholic 20 17 22 16—75

TRINITY (9-2) — Dieudonne 5-9 3-4 13, Hicks 7-11 0-0 15, Foster -8 2-2 13, Saxton 2-4 3-3 7, Rice 3-5 0-0 7, Quick 1-3 0-0 2, Owens 1-3 1-2 3, Perito 1-2 3-4 5, Ivory 3-3 0-0 9, Hepler 1-1 0-0 2, Thurman 0-0 2-2 2. Totals 29-49 14-17 78.

BARDSTOWN (7-4) — Brewer 4-10 5-7 16, Ramos 3-5 2-4 8, Starks 1-2 0-0 2, Myrks 4-10 4-4 12, Grundy 2-1 2-2 7, Schooling 0-1 0-0 0, Coulter 1-1 0-1 3, Yocum 1-1 0-0 2, Cosby 1-3 2-2 5. Totals 17-50 15-20 55.

Trinity 12 22 16 28—78

Bardstown 8 6 19 22—55

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