Jacob King responded after getting into foul trouble early, coming up with Trinity’s final seven points in a 59-51 win over host Lexington Catholic in the Traditional Bank Holiday Classic high school basketball semifinals on Tuesday night.
King finished with 13 points on 4-for-5 shooting with three assists after picking up his second foul with 2:41 to play in the first quarter.
“He’s just a tough competitor,” Trinity Coach Mike Szabo said. “He’s not really intimidated by much. He’s a winner.”
Trinity used a 15-3 run beginning in the first quarter to create a 28-17 lead in the second quarter. The Shamrocks took a 30-21 advantage into halftime.
Lexington Catholic responded with a 15-2 run deep into the third period, which included a basket by JJ Ogbogu off a pass from Luke Johnson to put the Knights ahead for the first time since the first quarter.
LexCath would have taken a lead into the final quarter if not for a run-busting three-pointer by King as time expired. The Shamrocks regained the lead on a three from Damon McClain and never gave it up again.
Johnson, Lexington Catholic’s leading scorer at 26.4 points per game, had only had four points in the first half but finished with a game-best 18. Twelve of those came during that third-quarter run.
“Luke didn’t have his typical first half but I knew he was gonna break open and get some stuff going,” LexCath Coach Brandon Salsman said. “ ... Our fast break and transition really got going and when we get out and run we’re really good. I think our defense in the second half was spectacular.”
The Knights got to within 50-49 after three free throws by Donnie Morris, who carried LexCath in the opening half. The senior, a receiver on the football team who’s still getting re-acclimated to basketball after the Knights’ run to the Class 3A title game, had their first 17 points of the game.
“He’s still shaking off some rust from football,” Salsman said. “ ... (He and Ogbogu) are making mistakes right now that they won’t make probably late down the year.”
LexCath had a 23-21 edge on the glass, but Trinity seemed to come away with offensive rebounds when they needed them most.
“We always wanna be crashing the boards,” Szabo said. “We’re not very big so we’ve got to win the hustle plays. ... We’ve gotta make up for our lack of size.”
Salsman pointed to missed free throws — they missed three straight midway through the fourth quarter — as something that could have changed their fortunes against a team that held them to 16-for-36 shooting from the floor.
The Shamrocks got 18 points from their bench, including seven from Christian Terry. That production was atypical.
“We’re gonna need that,” Szabo said. “We had a couple of guys that normally play really well kinda struggle today. So that was great to see.”
Lexington Catholic’s mindset coming into the game was just “guard everybody” on a team Salsman thinks is the No. 1 team in the state.
“They’ve got guys coming off the bench that I don’t even know how to spell their names, much less know who they are when they’re knocking down threes on us,” Salsman said with a laugh. “They’ve got a great program. My hat’s off to ’em.”
Trinity 59, Lexington Catholic 51
Traditional Bank Holiday Classic semifinals at Lexington Catholic
Lexington Catholic (5-6) — Morris 20, Ogbogu 9, Johnson 18, Payne 2, Whitman 2.
Trinity (12-1) — J. King 13, McClain 5, Burton 9, Schmitt 13, Harris 2, B. King 6, Terry 7, Burkman 4.
Traditional Bank Holiday Classic championship
Who: Trinity vs. Paul Laurence Dunbar
What: Finals of Lexington Catholic’s boys’ holiday tournament
When: 7:30 p.m. Wednesday