Trinity boys, girls fall short in state championship game
BENTON — No one would say the Trinity Episcopal boys didn’t play with heart Saturday.
Heart, skill and hard work almost brought the state title home.
But a fourth quarter in which the Trinity was outscored 17-12 proved to be the difference as they fell to Greenville Christian Academy 54-53 Saturday night in the MAIS Class A state championship game.
“The boys left it all out there,” Saints head coach David King said.
“I guess it just wasn’t meant to be. I just can’t get it done in basketball, obviously. They just left it out there.”
Trinity led 41-37 at the end of three quarters, but the Saints were unable to fend off the defending Class A state champions, who were led by Harry Williams’ 29-point game.
“We knew he was one of the best players in the state, public or private,” King said. “I thought we controlled him as well as we could, but in the end they made a shot or two more.
“That’s the tough thing about it. It was a great high school basketball game with two great teams going after it. Just a shot here or there, and years of memories would be different. I just hate it for them.”
The Saints’ Tip McKenzie led with 17 points, while L.J. Trimble tallied 12 points. Givonni Dent scored 11 points; Kent King had eight points and Tanner Cage rounded out Trinity’s scoring with five points.
The game was tied 22-22 at intermission.
King said he felt like his team deserved a lot of credit despite coming just short of the ultimate goal.
“It’s just disappointing, because I have an outstanding team that deserved it,” King said. “My heart goes out to these boys. They deserved it; it just didn’t happen for them. I’m heartbroken for them.”
King also said he had a special group of players that were competitive no matter what sport, whether it’s winning a state championship in football or playing for one in basketball.
“We just have some very good athletes who are very competitive. They’re fun to coach,” he said.
“I’ve been close (in basketball) so many times, it might be time for me to get out of it. I want to apologize to our fans.”
Trimble, King, Dent and Kevin Brown were named to the Class A All-Tournament team.
Trinity finished its season with a 29-6 record, and will play in the MAIS Overall Tournament beginning Tuesday.
Delta Academy 39,
Trinity girls 37, 2 OT
Words didn’t come easy for Trinity Episcopal girls head coach Richy Spears Saturday afternoon at Benton Academy.
After forcing Delta Academy into double overtime, a last-second three-point attempt to win the game hit the backside of the rim, but didn’t fall in. Delta Academy came away a 39-37 victor in the MAIS Class A state championship game.
It marked the second year in a row the Lady Saints fell to Delta Academy in the Class A title game, losing 38-33 in 2010.
“We were all disappointed,” Spears said. “It was definitely a very emotional game. It was up and down, back and forth.
“I don’t know what to say. I just know it was two good basketball teams getting out after each other.”
After the game was tied 31-31 at the end of regulation, both teams held each other to just four points in the first overtime period. But Delta Academy managed just one shot more than the Lady Saints in the second overtime period.
“Both teams defended the mess out of each other, just like last year,” Spears said. “They’re like us, in that they’re going to get up and defend. They’re quick, and (quickness) is what we both depend on. We’re almost carbon copies of each other.”
Junior Bethany Ogden led Trinity with 22 points. Madelyn Cross added 10 points, Abbey Ashmore tallied three points and Margaret Ward had two points.
Even with a disappointing end, Spears said it doesn’t take away from an overall great season, in which the Lady Saints finished with a 28-9 record.
“It’s been a wonderful year,” he said. “Just seeing the kids get up and play the way they do and get after people on the floor, it’s been a joy to coach them.
“They’re a great group of ladies that left it all on the floor every night, and that’s all you can ask from anyone.”
Spears said he’ll especially miss the senior leadership provided by Cross and Sarah Bryan.
“Both of them have been a joy to coach,” Spears said. “Cross, she’s a leader who’s very coachable. She’s been there since I’ve been at Trinity.
“Sarah doesn’t get the accolades she deserves, but that’s because they don’t know basketball. She’s a big part of the team. Defensively, she always guarded the posts players and was physical with them.”
And the team’s overall defense was its biggest strength this year, Spears said.
“It was just constant, all the time, no matter what,” he said. “It’s what we had to do. We had a great group that did their job no matter what. Even on nights we were down offensively, I could always rely on good defense. It didn’t matter who we were playing.”
Cross, Ogden, Ward and Rosie Woods were named to the Class A All-Tournament Team.
Trinity will compete in the MAIS Overall Tournament starting Tuesday in Clinton. Bracketing is still to be determined.
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