Trinity Episcopal’s Dre McCoy takes the ball to the hoop against Columbia Academy’s Alex Price Friday during the Saints’ 71-47 home win. (Ben Hillyer \ The Natchez Democrat)

Trinity starts out hot, keeps pace in win vs. Columbia

Published 12:01am Saturday, February 2, 2013

NATCHEZ — A strong first quarter propelled Trinity Episcopal Day School to a big win in a key district matchup against Columbia Academy Friday night.

The Saints marched out to a 20-6 lead in the first quarter and kept enough of a pace to eventually finish off Columbia 71-47.

Trinity head coach Edwin White said he was pleased with the way his team started out but was still looking for more consistency throughout the game from his players.

“In the first quarter, we came out with a lot of intensity and played well, but in the second quarter we got lax,” White said. “We’re trying to shore things up for the playoffs. We’re still making mental mistakes.”

Six turnovers by the Cougars aided Trinity in its first-quarter run as the Saints hit four shots from behind the arc, three of them coming from Garrett Vinson in the opening minute of play. Tommy McCoy added a trey and two field goals, and Brandon Brooks and Jaylen Fleming both hit two-pointers for Trinity.

Saints Guard Tanner Cage, who finished with 10 points, scored seven of those points in the second quarter. Trinity finished with 15 points in the second but allowed 14 to Columbia to take a 35-20 lead into intermission.

“Anytime you come out fast and with energy, it sets the tone, but when you have the lead, you have to put them away,” White stressed. “There are several times we’ve let teams come back this season and made easy games hard. Our guys have a tendency to lay down.”

Columbia was held to eight points in the third quarter, but Trinity continued the slower pace on offense, tallying 13 points in the third to take a 47-28 lead going into the final period.

Several three-pointers by Columbia’s Alex Price were not enough to cut things close, as Dre McCoy scored eight of his 15 points to help the Saints put the Cougars away for good.

Vinson finished with 13 points, and Tommy McCoy added 11 points. Price led Columbia with 14 points and was the Cougars’ only double-digit scorer.

The Saints took advantage of 13 steals, and White said most of those came off of aggressive man-to-man defense.

“Most of the teams we play against play man-to-man, and I want our team to be comfortable with man-to-man,” White said. “If (the other teams) like to put pressure on us, I want to put pressure on them and see who breaks.”

Cage said the team’s steals were a testament to their desire to prove to White that they were serious about playing hard the whole game.

“Sometimes he fusses at us during games,” Cage said. “Sometimes we’ll come out good, sometimes we’ll come out bad, and we had to show Coach that we wanted to make this game count.”

Trinity (16-5, 4-0) will host Copiah Academy today and ACCS Tuesday in anticipation of a key district matchup against Brookhaven Academy Feb. 8. Trinity topped Brookhaven 50-46 in its first matchup this past Tuesday, and Brookhaven would have to beat Trinity by five in order to win district.

In order to win out in district, Cage said the team would have to come out, jump on top of teams and bang around in the post.

“We have to kill a knat with a sledge hammer,” Cage said.

Columbia Academy 56, Trinity girls 18

Marty Lewis’ 10 points was the highlight in a game that was otherwise dominated by Columbia Academy Friday night.

Jacklyn Willis led the Lady Cougars with 12 points as Columbia took a 48-10 halftime lead en route to a lopsided win. Miranda Magee and Anna Wilks both added nine points for Columbia.

Sloan Young scored five points for Trinity, and Tali Beard rounded out the Lady Saints’ scoring with three points.

Trinity (0-19, 0-4) will host Copiah Academy today.