LOUISVILLE — Defending state champion Louisville Trinity showed why it's a threat to win it all again by beating Madison Central 75-62 in a showdown of top 10 teams on Friday night.
The host Shamrocks, No. 2 in the state, used a strong second half to pull away from No. 6 Madison Central.
It was a bit of revenge for Trinity, whose only loss to a Kentucky team last season was to Madison Central.
"We wanted to redeem ourselves for that," Rocks senior Darryl Hicks said. "And we wanted to show we can compete against one of the best teams in the state."
Hicks propelled Trinity's second-half surge. He hit back-to-back three-pointers to give the Rocks a 45-39 lead late in the third quarter. That coincided with Madison Central star Dominique Hawkins picking up his fourth foul and going to the bench.
Without Hawkins, the Indians fell behind by nine points (54-45) before he returned to the court. The 6-foot-1 senior did what he could, pouring in 12 points down the stretch, giving him 29 for the game.
But Trinity kept its distance by hitting its free throws in the closing minutes to seal its ninth win in a row and to halt Madison Central's 10-game winning streak.
The Rocks' five starters scored in double figures, led by James Quick, the Rocks' basketball/football/track star, who had 17 points and seven rebounds.
Hicks had all 12 of his points in the second half. Trey Ivory and Craig Owens also had 12 points each.
Owens, a bulky 6-4 junior, also had eight rebounds.
Demarcus Page, a 6-1 senior, added 10 points and six rebounds.
"I liked the way we competed, the way we played defense and rebounded," Coach Mike Szabo said. "And I liked the fact that our guys seemed like they didn't want to let each other down."
Szabo's main worry about Madison Central was its senior guards — Hawkins and Ken-Jah Bosley, who combined for 61 points against Trinity last season.
"They're both averaging 20 (points), so you don't want both of them going off," he said. "One is OK, but not both."
Hawkins was spectacular. He got most of his points while being guarded by the ultra-quick and ultra-athletic Quick. Hawkins' highlight moment was a one-handed jam on an alley-oop.
Bosley had a tough shooting night — 3-for-12. He did make eight of 11 free throws to finish with 14 points.
Hunter Stocker hit three threes for nine points. Quan Taylor had eight points and seven rebounds.
Indians Coach Allen Feldhaus said he was surprised by Trinity's second-half perimeter shooting, which included 4-for-6 three-pointers, but not its defense.
"They hit shots, and defensively, they're solid. They're all quick. You can't find a weak spot to attack them."
But Feldhaus thought the bottom line was Hawkins' picking up his fourth foul.
"We've got to have Dominique on the floor," Feldhaus said. "We struggle without him. That's when we dug ourselves a hole and couldn't get out of it."
If these two state powers meet again, it would be in the Sweet Sixteen finals.
Louisville Trinity 75, Madison Central 62
MADISON CENTRAL (18-4) — Hawkins 29, Bosley 14, Parke 2, Taylor 8, Stocker 9.
Louisville TRINITY (20-4) — Quick 17, Ivory 12, Hicks 12, Owens 12, Page 10, Strothman 4, Rice 8.
Madison Central 14 16 13 19—62
Lou. Trinity 22 8 18 27—75
Mike Fields: (859) 231-3337. Twitter: @MikeFieldsNotes. Blog: fieldsnotes.bloginky.com