Saints hold on to clip CMI, in semis today

Published 12:00 am Thursday, February 20, 2003

GREENVILLE &045; Perhaps the biggest test is out of the way.

Trinity Episcopal had to scrap in the second half but pulled off the 54-48 win over CM&I, last year’s MPSA overall champion, Thursday to advance to the semifinals of the Class A state tournament.

The win also locked up a spot in next week’s overall tournament.

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The Saints will play at 6 p.m. today against Rossville Christian (32-6).

&uot;We’re just excited about continuing the season and to keep reaching for that goal of winning state,&uot; Trinity head coach David King said. &uot;We just hung on to win, basically. We had a lot of turnovers because their pressure was just so good. We’ve got our goals set high, and we just hope to keep playing hard and making things happen again.&uot;

The Saints had to erase a deficit in the second half to take the win, and they had to be more patient on offense against a Crusader squad that was real athletic.

CM&I led 28-26 at halftime, but the Saints rallied in the second half and kept the lead at four or five points before hitting crucial free throws down the stretch to put the game away.

The Saints went inside to Dudley Guice Jr. more in the second half, and he finished with 12 points.

&uot;They’re just so athletic,&uot; King said. &uot;Our kids played their hearts out. We didn’t play smart, but we played hard enough to win. We were able to hit some free throws in the clutch. They were so aggressive and fouled a lot, and we made free throws at the end. Both teams laid it on the line, and we did enough to win. It was such a monumental win to beat the defending overall champions.&uot;

The Crusaders trailed 13-12 by the end of the first quarter but turned it up in the second quarter with a 16-13 edge for the two-point lead at the break.

CM&I brought the pressure early, and the Saints had trouble with it at the start.

&uot;They play 10 deep, so they never worry about getting in foul trouble,&uot; King said. &uot;Our kids had never seen that kind of pressure all year. We were just worn slap out. &uot;

Mike Lickliter led the Saints with 17 points, while Chase Brown had 15.

Adrian Carpenter had 24 to lead CM&I.;