Delta upends Trinity for Class A state crown

Published 12:00 am Sunday, February 23, 2003

GREENVILLE &045; Holding a silver medal never looked so rusty.

When its championships are decided the MPSA hands out medallions according to place of finish. After Saturday’s heartbreaking loss in the Class A championship game to Delta Academy, Trinity Episcopal players reluctantly accepted second place.

Some sat, head down in front of their lockers; some slowly, aimlessly strolled around the Greenville Christian School gym not wanting to believe their fate.

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&uot;We came out and played hard for three straight games, and it’s hard for me to be upset with these kids,&uot; Saints’ head coach David King said. &uot;It’s hard to be mad when I know they laid it on the line. I hurt in my gut for them because they deserved it tonight.&uot;

Down by four with 10.9 seconds left, Trinity’s last gasp effort sailed out of bounds when an inbounds pass flew over everybody and turned the ball back over to the Raiders.

Michael Roy, who finished with a team-high 18 points, connected on one of two free throws to cap off an exciting 57-52 finish for Delta (33-6).

&uot;This is my second championship and I thought nothing would top the first one because we had to win two games in the same day,&uot; Delta head coach Craig Dailey said. &uot;This is pretty close.&uot;

The Saints trailed by six with less than three minutes to play before a Chase Brown 3-pointer cut the deficit in half, 53-50, with 2:18 showing.

When Dudley Guice, whose 19 led all scorers, gutted a layup to go with 12 seconds on the clock Trinity fans thought the impossible could happen.

It didn’t, as the Raiders took care of business from the free-throw line.

&uot;I feel great. I can’t even describe my feelings,&uot; said Roy, who was busy accepting his congratulations, a gold medal and a state championship trophy. &uot;We progressed through the season, and everybody stepped up. It’s an unreal feeling.&uot;

Delta, who lost previously to Trinity in the regular season, used a balance attack to stay ahead of the Saints for much of the contest.

Roy had six of his team’s first 12 points, but Delta pushed its lead out to seven, 17-10, on five straight from Chris Cook. Cook, the 6-foot-5 post, and 6-6 freshman Lee Thompson physically outmanned Trinity’s counters underneath on the glass all night.

Combined the two towers had 23 points.

&uot;(Thompson) has given us so much,&uot; Dailey said. &uot;I’ve never had a real big man at Delta. Before I’ve had to ride just one mule (Roy), but now I’ve got a few more mules to go to.&uot;

The Saints couldn’t get much going from their perimeter players early on, as both Brown and Gregory Ketchings went scoreless in the first quarter until Brown dropped in a tricky finge roll layup with 5.9 seconds left in the first to cut the deficit to six.

The acrobatic shot sparked a 9-0 Saints’ run that carried over into the second period and put Trinity back on top 22-21 with 4:30 to play before the half when Ketchings connected on a pair of free throws.

&uot;My hat goes off to Trinity,&uot; Dailey said. &uot;David (King) has a heck of a ball club and they’re going to be so good next year. &uot;

Being in the driver’s seat lasted just moments as Roy and Ty Sinquefield crushed a pair of treys and had the Raiders in full throttle with 3:14 left in the half up 27-23.

Whereas the inside game Delta used to its advantage in the first period, the second saw a trio of long balls to help build a 9-point halftime cushion, 34-25. The last of which Roy buried like a pool shark eyeing an 8-ball in the corner pocket.

With a hand in his face the Raider pure shooter knew it was good when it left his hand.

The connection had King calling for time with just 10.6 seconds left before intermission and Delta forward Farris Hopkins’ waving arms asking Raider fans to get off their feet.

&uot;(Delta) was just so big and were able to push us around,&uot; King said. &uot;We tried our best to box them out, but with such a good shooter in Roy they did a hell of a job.&uot;

Ryan Rachal converted on a tough, baseline layup with 6:37 in the third to cut the deficit to five, 36-31.

But the Raiders, as they did so well throughout, went inside again &045; this time to their Goliath freshman Thompson on back-to-back possessions and built the lead up to nine, 40-31 with 5:17 to play.

&uot;I just wanted to post up and set screens and do my part to win,&uot; said Thompson, whose big frame enveloped well wishers with hugs and handshakes after the win. &uot;We wanted to get a ring for all the seniors and this feels great.&uot;

Guice led the Trinity charge back with two superhuman-like runners in the lane in the third period’s final 70 seconds. The second of which put Trinity down five, 48-43, heading into a dramatic fourth.

&uot;I hope I can just get my kids back up in time for next week and overalls (state championships),&uot; King said as he sat slumped, dejected in a locker. &uot;When you have a goal in mind of winning a state championship and don’t reach it, it’s hard to respond. But we have to regroup.&uot;