Cathedral, Trinity meet on court for first time

Published 12:00 am Monday, January 19, 2009

NATCHEZ — A big game is brewing tonight, and it’s against two teams that have never met.

But these teams are very familiar with each other — in fact, they’re only 3 miles apart.

Trinity Episcopal and Cathedral High will face off in basketball for the first time ever tonight.

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And both coaches are excited about the match-up.

“I think it’s pretty neat,” Trinity coach David King said. “You’ve got two schools that have a lot of tradition, and there’s a lot of alumni from both schools in the area.”

The game could be interesting. Since the two teams have never played, neither knows what to expect.

Trinity is 19-4 this season following a solid win against Wilkinson County Christian on Saturday.

Cathedral, a powerhouse team last season, is rebuilding with a young team and struggling with a 4-15 record.

“Obviously on paper it’s a lopsided deal,” Cathedral coach Peter Arnold said. “David King’s teams are very athletic, they’re fast, they run the floor hard. It could cause us a lot of problems if were not able slow them down or keep up. It could get ugly pretty quick.”

Both schools are private, but Cathedral plays in the Mississippi High School Athletic Association with public schools while Trinity plays in the Mississippi Private School Association with other private institutions.

Arnold said he has wanted to play the other area teams in previous years, but the public school rules have just recently changed to allow public and private teams to play.

While the Saints and Green Wave will play just one game this season, Arnold hopes to expand that in the coming years.

“Not only do I want to play Trinity twice — once here and once there — I also want to try to play some of the other local schools,” he said. “It’s a win-win. There’s no travel, it’s a lot of fun, a good gate and there are a lot of bragging rights on the line. It’s foolish not to play.”

While Arnold only schedules basketball and cannot determine whether Trinity and Cathedral will face off in other sports, he said it would be fun to see that happen too.

King said he has tried to set up a football game but has had no luck so far.

Arnold said there are some people from both schools that do not think the game is a good idea, but most do.

He said he’s gotten lots of questions about why it didn’t happen sooner and why only one game will be played this season.

“Every year you have some commitments from the previous year, like if you played only one game last year against a team at home, you owe them a game this year at their home,” Arnold said. “So with all that, we only had one opening. But I think we have more restrictions in the public schools as far as the amount of games you can play versus what the private schools have.”

But even for the one game this season, both coaches are expecting a large turnout for a game that has been a long time coming.

And while the Saints may have a better record, King said they are not overlooking the Green Wave.

“They don’t know what to expect,” King said of his team. “I know I respect what Peter Arnold has done the last few years, and I’m sure we better be ready to play a lot better basketball than we have been the past couple games if we want to win.”