Tradition is secret to success

Published 12:00 am Thursday, March 8, 2001

The lack of a go-to player and having only one senior on the team were the two reasons the 2000-2001 Trinity Saints basketball team was predicted to finish in last place in MPSA District 5-1A. Perhaps someone forgot to tell that to head coach David King and his players as the Saints surprised a lot of people in going 21-4 overall, 10-0 in regular season district play and winning the district title.

&uot;It’s called tradition,&uot; King said. &uot;We bucked the tradition of winning 24 games a year. Three straight district titles. Three straight South State title game appearances.&uot;

&uot;The kids wanted to continue that tradition,&uot; he said. &uot;The kids worked hard and worked on fundamentals and it showed every game. A lot of Saturdays, a lot of late nights at the gym, it paid off.&uot;

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King said the year before he arrived at Trinity the Clyde Adams Arena was so empty one had no problem finding a place in the bleachers to sit.

&uot;Now you better get here during the girls junior varsity game to get a good seat,&uot; he said.

Over the last four years, Trinity’s overall record has been an astounding – 110 wins and only 34 losses, including a 40-4 home record. &uot;That’s like Duke Blue Devils basketball,&uot; King said.

King didn’t expect the season the Saints had. &uot;I’d be lying if I said I did, but there was no way we would be denied,&uot; he said. &uot; That fourth district banner is what’s worth it. I had a feeling we would be successful.&uot;

King said the thing that was so special about the 2000-2001 Saints was this team won with defense, unlike the previous three years in which Trinity won with offense and had players like Bobby Craig and Kris Thomson for offensive firepower.

&uot;These guys knew to take the extra passes,&uot;&160;he said. &uot;The other teams, we had one go-to guy.&uot;

King said with four of the team’s five starting returning for the 2001-02 season, including District MVP Chad Ridley and All-District Team members Chase Brown and Gregory Ketchings, Trinity could very well be competing for three straight state championships.

Among the other returning players are Ryan Rachal, Walt Ketchings and Brett Mount. Another player who will be on the team is Dudley Guice, who led Trinity’s junior varsity team to the district championship.

&uot;When you win as much as we have, fans want winners,&uot; King said. &uot;I knew this year we would be too young to compete for a state championship. I think next year will start a string of three straight years in which we’ll be one of the top five teams in the state in 1A.&uot;