High School Basketball

Trinity boys beats hosts to win LexCath tournament

Not since Trinity made its first Sweet Sixteen appearance in 2004 has the Shamrocks' basketball program had so much to celebrate.

After winning the King of the Bluegrass last week, Trinity won the Republic Bank Holiday Classic on Wednesday night by beating host Lexington Catholic 60-58 in an overtime thriller.

How daunting a task was it to win the state's two most prestigious holiday tournaments in a two-week span, something that had never been done before?

"Wow. I never would've dreamed it," Trinity Coach Mike Szabo said.

"Now that I've been around this group and seen what they can do, I don't think anybody's going to doubt them now."

Seniors Taylor Epley (21 points, seven rebounds) and Josh Sewell (17 points, six rebounds, three assists, three steals) led the Rocks.

Sophomore Charles Foster came up big, too, with nine points, including three clutch free throws in the final seconds of regulation and overtime.

Lexington Catholic, which was trying to win its own tournament for the third year in a row, was led by sophomore Jaylen Beckham's 27 points, five rebounds and four assists. Scott Schuette added nine points, and Taylor Martin had eight points and eight rebounds.

Trinity was No. 16 in the state in the pre-season, but in the past two weeks its victims have included No. 5 Clark County and No. 6 Lexington Catholic.

Were the Rocks under-rated?

"It's not how you start, it's how you finish," said Sewell, MVP of both tournaments.

Trinity looked as if it might be finished when it trailed the Knights 46-38 with less than three minutes left in regulation. Lexington Catholic appeared to have all the momentum after rallying from a 14-point halftime deficit.

But the Rocks didn't lose their poise. Epley, who is shooting 51 percent from three-point range this season, hit a pair of bombs to provide the spark.

Sewell's driving layup tied it at 49 with 1:20 left.

Beckham and Foster each hit pressure-packed free throws in the last 36 seconds to keep it tied at 51.

The Knights had a chance to win in regulation, but Beckham missed a 15-foot jumper with 2 seconds left.

After Foster hit one of two free throws to give Trinity a 60-58 lead with 14 seconds left in OT, Lexington Catholic couldn't crack the Trinity defense to get off a shot.

"It was mental toughness, that's what it came down to at the end," Sewell said.

And the Rocks had another Holiday Classic title to go with the one they won in 2004.

Knights Coach Brandon Salsman said his team's inexperience showed late in the game, but he blamed himself for the loss.

"This one's on me for sure," he said. "I told the kids it was my fault for probably not using my timeouts correctly for a young team.

"But we'll grow from this. We won't make the same mistakes again."

Trinity will get two days of rest before it plays again on Saturday.

Has it been a tough two weeks?

"You have no idea," Epley said. "We're pretty exhausted, but it's all worth it."

Championship

TRINITY (10-2) — Sewell 7-15 3-5 17, Epley 8-14 1-3 21, Foster 3-6 3-4 9, Saxton 2-3 2-2 6, Diedudonne 3-6 1-2 7, Corbett 0-2 0-0 0, Perito 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 23-47 10-16 60.

LEXINGTON CATHOLIC (9-3) — Martin 3-6 2-2 8, J. Beckham 10-14 6-7 27, S. Beckham 1-9 1-4 3, Peurach 2-7 1-2 5, Schuette 3-11 0-0 9, Floyd 1-1 3-4 6, Woomer 0-1 0-0 0, Conrad 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 20-50 13-19 58.

Trinity 13 16 6 16 9—60

Lexington Catholic 9 6 14 22 7—58

Third-place game

MCCREARY CENTRAL (10-4) — Watts 26, Dixon 11, Roark 2, Privett 4, Perry 2, Wright 6, Williams 2.

MALE (6-6) — Hayes 12, Pillischafske 14, Moore 1, Glenn 8, Way 4, Horne 6, Logan 2.

McCreary Central 15 10 13 15—53

Male 6 10 15 16—47

Fifth-place game

CLARK CO. (10-4) — Stenzel 12, Daniel 19, Kindred 11, Zollo 20, Rogers 7.

SENECA (11-2) — McElwain 3, Shaw 12, Nance 22, Fluellen 3, Alexander 14, Jacobs 7, Harris 11, Hearn 2.

Clark Co. 19 19 10 21—69

Seneca 11 24 23 16—74

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