Saints look for fourth district roundball title

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, October 31, 2000

David King has helped build a very successful program in recent years as head coach of the Trinity Saints varsity boys basketball team.

The 1997-1998 team went 25-6, won the district title and was the South State runner-up. The 1998-1999 team went 31-9, again won district, won South State and in the final poll was ranked third in the state.

The 1999-2000 Saints, which many people thought wouldn’t even have a .500 record, went 24-7, won district for an unprecedented third year in a row with an 8-0 record, and once again were the South State runners-up.

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In those three seasons, Trinity went 44-4 at home, averaged 28 wins a season and made the state playoffs in each of those seasons.

All those teams, however, played in MPSA District 6-1A. This year, Trinity is in a new district — MPSA&160;District 5-1A, along with Huntington, Pine Hills, Chamberlain-Hunt, Amite School Center and Ben’s Ford.

King likely faces his most difficult task to date as the Saints’ head coach — replacing a team that lost six seniors, four of which were starters.

&uot;We lost 61 points (a game) from last year’s four senior starters,&uot; he said.

Trinity has only two lettermen returning, with only one of them a starter — junior Chad Ridley, who averaged 11 points, 6 rebounds and 4 steals a game last season.

&uot;We’re counting on him to step up,&uot; King said.

Another key player on this year’s team is senior Tyler Burns, who at 6 feet tall is the tallest player on the Saints team.

&uot;We’re hoping for him to be the leader,&uot; King said.

Senior leadership may be in short supply, as King will likely have three freshmen in the starting line-up.

&uot;New stars are going to have to emerge,&uot; he said. &uot;We’re going to have to rely on speed.&uot;

While inexperience and height are the weaknesses, King said the team’s strengths are running a press and man-to-man defense as well as playing transition basketball.

&uot;We’re going to play exciting basketball,&uot; he said. &uot;We’re going to play up and down the court.&uot;

King said that while the team’s goal is to win a fourth straight district title and go to South State, he said the teams to beat in the new district will be Huntington and Ben’s Ford, which is located in Bogalusa, La., about a three-hour drive from Natchez.

&uot;Huntington’s got the most experience coming back,&uot; he said.

With four freshman and four sophomores on this year’s team, King said this is &uot;by far the youngest team ever I’ve coached (at Trinity).&uot;

&uot;We’re extremely young,&uot; he continued. &uot;The future looks bright. (But) we’re going to have to take our lumps this year.&uot;

Trinity’s season begins on Nov. 7 when the Saints take to the road to play former district foe Tensas in St. Joseph, La.