Lickliter, Saints put away Delta for Parklane crown

Published 12:00 am Monday, December 30, 2002

MCCOMB &045; Just call them road warriors. Trinity Episcopal has probably forgotten what its home court looks like.

But as long as the Saints keep on winning, they won’t complain.

Trinity gutted out a 38-33 victory over Delta Academy to go 3-0 and capture the top prize at Parklane Academy’s Holiday Tournament.

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The Saints turn right around today and head to New Orleans to play Jackson Academy in a game preceding the Hornets-Indiana Pacers matchup in the New Orleans Arena.

&uot;Our kids love to rise to the challenge,&uot; Trinity head coach David King said. &uot;They’d play right now if they had too. Plus they’re 17-year-olds &045; they shouldn’t be tired.&uot;

Mike Lickliter scored four points in the final period, including two free throws with 11 seconds left to seal the Trinity win. Trinity never held a lead more than six points against a Raider team that clawed and fought for every rebound, loose ball and basket.

Michael Roy hit four 3-pointers to keep Delta close all night, but his last attempt, which would have tied the game, clanged off the front-end into Lickliter’s open arms.

Roy led the Raiders with 17 points.

&uot;He’s just a heck of a player,&uot; Delta head coach Craig Dailey said. &uot;His work ethic is impeccable, and he always shows so much heart on the court.&uot;

Dudley Guice Jr. led Trinity with 13 points as the Saints spread out its scoring among its five starters.

Coming out of halftime with a six-point lead, Trinity soon surrendered its advantage by not setting up in its motion offense and forcing tough shots.

The Raiders converted that into baskets on the other end getting as close as two, 24-22, when Chris Cook laid one in with 4:13 to play in the third.

Cook, the biggest man on the floor, finished with 12 by exploiting the inside taking it right at Guice and Ryan Rachal.

&uot;When you play Delta, you have to be patient because they can take you out of your offense,&uot; King said. &uot;My guys did a good job of that tonight. Our defense was wonderful.&uot;

From the tip both teams began to get physical with one another as the officials kept their whistles quiet. After falling behind on the game’s opening basket, the Saints went on a 9-0 run to take the lead with 2:36 to play in the first.

The Raiders pushed back on a Roy trey to get within four, 9-5, with 2:21 to play. Minutes later in the second period Roy connected on a fade-away and then another trey to send Delta back ahead, 16-15, with 3:23 to play before halftime.

&uot;We knew we were in for a war, and it didn’t disappoint,&uot; Dailey said.

&uot;Trinity played their hearts out. I can see why they’re one of the top three teams in the state.&uot;

Roy single-handedly put his team back ahead; however his seven points were all the Raiders scored in the second as Trinity reclaimed the lead and carried the momentum into the locker room on a 7-0 run.

Chase Brown’s 3 as time trickled away capped the surge for a 22-16 halftime advantage.

&uot;(Delta) is certainly one of the best teams in MPSA,&uot; King said. &uot;They are so well-coached and know how to win.&uot;

Guice was the only Trinity player to reach double figures, but every starter scored with Lickliter and Gregory Ketching contributing nine and seven, respectively.

Roy had 10 of the Raiders’ 16 points at the break. He hit on a multitude of difficult shots, and his overall stroke was pure.

The Saints unquestionably looked like the more sound team physically, but Delta Academy showed more hunger from the tip than the Saints did.

The 3s that were there for Roy in the first half were absent in the third period as he missed on three wide-open looks.

After surrendering its six-point halftime margin, Trinity built it back up to five when Guice dropped in a leaner, drew a foul and made good on the free throw.

After Roy hit the back-end of a two-shot foul, the Saints again milked the clock for the period’s final shot. Down from 20 seconds, Trinity reversed the ball to the weak side where Rachal reeled in a Ketchings’ entry pass and softly put his only points of the night in off the glass to give the Saints a 29-23 lead after three quarters.

&uot;It really was a total team effort tonight, and that’s the only way you’re going to beat Delta,&uot; King said. &uot;My kids have been competing together since they were tiny kids, and the way they work is awesome.&uot;