Answering the call: Trinity pulls away in fourth for first win of the season

Published 12:04 am Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Trinity Episcopal’s Tommy McCoy drives to the basket against Cathedral High School Tuesday. Trinity won the game 41-35. (Sam Gause / The Natchez Democrat)

Trinity Episcopal’s Tommy McCoy drives to the basket against Cathedral High School Tuesday. Trinity won the game 41-35. (Sam Gause / The Natchez Democrat)

With a lead in the fourth quarter and their best player on the bench, head coach Zach Rogel challenged the Trinity Saints boys basketball team, minutes away from picking up the team’s first win of the season.

Following Cathedral’s 55-49 win against the Trinity girls, Rogel looked to his bench in the final period, and called Trinity senior Tommy McCoy to get back into the game.

“I challenged him like a man,” Rogel said. “I put him on the bench for about a minute. I knew he wouldn’t like the view from over there. He answered.”

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Tommy McCoy went on to score six of his 16 points in the quarter, grabbing a steal with less than a minute left and hitting free throws to give Trinity a 41-35 win against Cathedral.

The contest was Cathedral’s first of the season, as the season was delayed because most of the Green Wave’s players were still playing football en route to the state championship game. The Green Wave’s lack of practice was noticeable early when Trinity took a 6-2 lead, propelled by a 3-pointer by McCoy.

“Right now, we’re just a bunch of meatheads trying to play basketball,” Cathedral head coach Peter Arnold said.

Cathedral tied the game at 8 in the first quarter, but Trinity created separation in the second quarter with two Kevontaye Caston 3-point field goals. Cathedral went on a 5-0 run at the end of the half, as Alex Weadock drilled a 3-pointer at the buzzer, reducing Cathedral’s deficit to 18-16 at the half. After a tight third quarter that saw Trinity take a 29-27 lead into the fourth, Trinity boxed out, corralled rebounds and won the 50/50 balls, executing free throws after snatching second chance opportunities.

“That’s something that we haven’t done in the last three games,” Rogel said.

Trinity outscored Cathedral 12-8 in the final period. Caston had 14 points and David Jackson contributed five.

Meanwhile, Cathedral’s leading scorer was R.J. Givens with nine. Weadock and James Allen Coley each totaled seven points in the contest.

Arnold, who was frustrated after the game, was reasonable about his team’s performance, understanding that his team has only had two days of practice to build off of.

“We’re just terrible right now,” Arnold said. “But two days just can’t do it. We’re going to be a great team, though.”

Wyatt Boothe, who the MHSAA will meet about and discuss whether or not he’s eligible in a meeting Monday, scored two points in the game.

Rogel was happy to pick up the first win of the season, but knew it wasn’t the cleanest of victories.

“We still made a lot of mistakes,” Rogel said. “We know the situation that Cathedral was in. We were in the same situation against Parklane earlier this year. But those are some big boys, and we were able to go out and execute.”

Before the boys played, Cathedral girls and Trinity fought in a tightly contested battle for the better part of four quarters.

After Cathedral took an 11-6 lead into the second quarter, the Green Wave used its running style to wear down the Saints, constantly subbing and utilizing an up-tempo offense.

“Our goal was to get them tired,” Cathedral head coach Randy Smith said. “We had more girls than they did, so we wanted to get them tired.”

Mackenzie Watts led the team with 12, while Grayson Bryant added 10 for the Green Wave. Cathedral extended its lead to five in the third quarter, but Trinity’s Jasmine Ivory led an 8-0 scoring run with two 3-pointers.

Still, Cathedral’s game plan caused enough separation in the final period for the Green Wave to win 55-49.