Rogers, Trinity turn back Randleman
Jarrod Rogers threw an over-the-shoulder outlet pass to his teammate standing 70 feet away in perfect stride for a wide open lay up. He made the long football pass look easy – after all he is the quarterback of his Trinity Bulldogs basketball team.
Rogers led his No. 3-seeded Bulldogs past No. 11-seeded Randleman for the third time this season, 52-39, but this time on the bigger stage of the NCHSAA 2A playoffs.
“We did a great job tonight. We were moving our feet and were being active on the ball,” Trinity head coach Tim Kelly said.
Trinity used its spread offense to slow down the Tigers and countered with an effective defense to cruise to the third round of the playoffs. Trinity shot 18 of 42 from the field, including seven 3-pointers, and caused 13 Tiger turnovers for its second playoff victory.
“They’re more athletic than most people think. We slowed the game down because we had a lead and we didn’t want to force any bad shots,” the junior point guard Rogers said.
Each team had its moments in the first half putting together a couple of runs. Randleman tried a trap defense to keep the tempo of the game up, but Kelly wisely declined to play that type of game.
“I told them: I don’t care if we make 15-20 passes, we need to get a good shot. They ran a scramble defense at us, but we were prepared for it having worked hard in practice preparing for that,” Kelly said.
Trinity ate away at the clock in the third quarter with its long possessions and allowed only nine points. Randleman countered with rushed shots and more turnovers, giving Trinity a 10-point lead going into the fourth quarter.
The Tigers showed signs of life midway through the fourth quarter with a 7-0 run, but Trinity squashed the run by hitting foul shots down the stretch.
Additionally, the Bulldog’s first team foul of the second half was not called until 4:23 remaining in the fourth quarter.
“We got caught in the corners, traveled a couple of times, and got out of what we talked about,” Kelly said of the Tiger’s late run. “But I thought our guys, Daniel Newcomer, (Brandon) Earnhardt, and (Austin) Sexton, really came through – they played excellent tonight.”
Earnhardt led all scorers with 14 points, followed by the David Newcomer with 12 and Daniel Newcomer with 10.
Randleman was eliminated from the playoffs, finishing the season with an overall record of 18-8. Allen Goslen scored 11 points leading the Tigers.
The Bulldogs will have to move away from Trinity for its next game, facing Central Davidson Friday night.
“I like playing on the road. The opposing team’s fans fire me up, so I am really excited for Friday,” Rogers said.