Bulldogs subdue Warriors, 49-40
Just as things seemed to be slipping away from the Trinity boys, they settled things down, regrouped and finished strong.
After losing a 10-point halftime lead and trailing by three heading to the fourth quarter, the Bulldogs outscored Wheatmore 20-8 over the final eight minutes to rebound from back-to-back losses against their archrival and defeat the Warriors 49-40 in a key PAC-6 2A matchup Friday at Wheatmore.
“Our kids have a lot of pride,” Trinity coach Tim Kelly said. “We’ve built something and sustained it for a lot of years. They came in here on a mission, and it was scratch, claw, fight — whatever it took to get a win — and I’m extremely proud of them. ...
“All of a sudden (after losing the lead) we got to a point where it was like the excitement got the best of us. To stop that, I went to the spread game. We were panicking. How can I control them? I run something where I know they can’t shoot.
“Then it opened up, we got a couple layups off it, went into a couple sets and got some baskets. And defensively, we were really good until we gambled. But we finally convinced them to play it the way we teach it. And that’s when we got our steals and our stops.”
David Newcomer scored 19 points while Jarrod Rogers had 14 and Brandon Earnhardt had nine to lead the Bulldogs (17-3, 6-2 PAC-6), who tied Wheatmore for the conference lead with the win.
Jason Ozment scored 13 points while Anthony Harris had nine and Madison Fountain had eight for the Warriors (16-4, 6-2 PAC-6), who beat Trinity in the Courier-Tribune Christmas tournament and at Trinity in January.
“That’s three games in a row that we haven’t played a whole game,” Wheatmore coach David Spell said. “I told them, ‘Guys, it’s up to y’all. Y’all have a lot of ball left in you, if you want it.’
“You saw the Wheatmore team that’s capable of doing things in the third quarter. The third quarter, they played well, but they made some plays and we didn’t. But if we play the first half like the second, it’s a moot point.”
Trinity used a second-quarter spurt to lead 26-16 at halftime before the Warriors outscored the Bulldogs 16-3 in the third — including the final nine — to lead 32-29 heading to the fourth.
Trinity, however, scored on its first three possessions to regain the lead and 11 of 14 in the quarter and steadily pull away from Wheatmore, thanks to focused defense and patient, disciplined offense.
“Coach Kelly, you’ve got to give him the credit,” David Newcomer said. “He gets us prepared for situations like that. He’s a great coach. Every situation that comes we’ve worked on it in practice. So, it just feels good.
“I think it was taking good shots — that was the big thing,” he continued. “We played good defense. Jason Ozment played a great game for them. He’s hard to handle, but overall I thought we played pretty good D.”
Both teams play again Tuesday, with Trinity hosting Atkins and Wheatmore visiting Randleman.