High School Basketball

Sweet Sixteen: Trinity gets rolling late to KO proud Southwestern

Trinity's James Quick, left, shot in front of Southwestern's Justin Epperson. Southwestern led by one at the half but eventually fell to the top-ranked Shamrocks.
Trinity's James Quick, left, shot in front of Southwestern's Justin Epperson. Southwestern led by one at the half but eventually fell to the top-ranked Shamrocks. AP

As top-ranked Trinity advanced to Saturday night's finals of the PNC/KHSAA Boys' State Basketball Tournament, Southwestern exited with helds head high.

And with one head held.

Sleek point guard David Kapinga took a direct hit to his left eye with 5½ minutes left and spent the rest of the game on the bench, holding an ice pack to his head.

He could do nothing as Louisville Trinity pulled away for a 56-47 Saturday morning victory in Rupp Arena.

"He got a finger in the eye, the trainer said. He got jabbed pretty good," Southwestern Coach Steve Wright said. "... Unfortunately for us, really, we had already dug ourselves a little bit of a hole."

Trinity took a 43-37 lead when Nathan Dieudonne shook loose on the low post for a dunk with 5:39 left. Kapinga, who had 13 points and five assists, was injured on the ensuing inbounds play.

Trinity got a three-pointer from Troy Saxton, and Charles Foster converted a three-point play at 3:44, ballooning the lead to 49-37. Then, the gap never fell below seven.

"I guess the moral of the story is it doesn't matter how it gets done, as long as it gets done," Shamrocks Coach Mike Szabo said. "I credit Coach Wright and his team. ... I thought they did a great job controlling the tempo. They limited our rebounding as well. I think they did a great job.

"I'm really proud of my team for staying tough, grinding it out, making enough plays to move on."

Dieudonne, a 6-foot-7 Boston University recruit, led Trinity (34-3) with 16 points and seven rebounds. Foster had 12 points and seven boards. James Quick totaled eight rebounds, six points and four assists.

Southwestern (29-9) got 14 points off the bench from 6-4, 272-pound senior Rob Lewis. Justin Edwards led the Warriors with nine rebounds, adding seven points.

Southwestern led 12-11 through a quarter and 22-21 at halftime. Trinity missed its first eight three-point shots and was 2-for-12 at the break.

"We were all just a little frustrated with ourselves because we were down one," Dieudonne said. "But we knew we were going to come out, we still had a lot of energy. There was just a lot of seriousness in the room."

The Shamrocks drained their first four second-half shots — three-pointers by Foster (two), Dieudonne and Saxton.

Southwestern scored eight straight points, Lewis muscling inside for the last six.

Trinity led 36-33 through three quarters.

Wright noted that the fathers of two Warriors — Lewis and sophomore reserve Robby Miller — died in January.

"The way (the team) supported each other, it's a life lesson that they can take away with them the rest of their lives," he said. "And that's really what a team's about. It's not about the wins and losses; it's about the relationships. We had that, and it was special."

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