Jay Scrubb may be the best sixth man in Kentucky, and the 6-foot-5 junior swingman said he’s just fine with that role.
Scrubb starred as a reserve Friday night, hitting 13 of 14 free throws and scoring a game-high 25 points to lead the Trinity High School basketball team to a 61-50 victory over rival St. Xavier at Broadbent Arena.
Scrubb, a transfer from Central who sat out last year, hasn’t started a game for the Shamrocks this season but is their top scorer at 16.3 points per outing.
“It doesn’t really matter to me,” Scrubb said. “Whenever I get in the game, I do whatever I have to do for my team.”
Lukas Burkman and David Johnson added nine points apiece as Trinity (14-1) – No. 2 in the state in The Courier-Journal’s Litkenhous Ratings – ran its winning streak to 11.
Shamrocks coach Mike Szabo said his team might have been a little flat this week after winning titles in the King of the Bluegrass Holiday Classic at Fairdale and the Arby’s Classic in Bristol, Tennessee, over the Christmas break. Trinity will travel to Muhlenberg County on Saturday.
“No excuses, but to come off of that and into this situation, you worry about a bit of a let-up,” Szabo said. “I’m excited that we’re playing (Saturday). I’m hoping we play better basketball because I know we’re capable.”
Pierce Kiesler scored 15 points and Paul Oberst added nine points and seven steals to lead St. X (9-5), which shot just 5 of 19 from 3-point range.
Tigers coach Kevin Klein said the 19 3-point attempts were too many for a team he said does not shoot well from behind the arc.
“That’s not who we are,” Klein said. “The message at halftime was to get (Trinity) back on their heels, get paint touches, get jump stops, get to the foul line and see if that could change the momentum.”
Kiesler’s 3-pointer tied the score at 14 with 3:34 left in the second quarter before Scrubb gave Trinity the momentum, scoring the final seven points of the half for a 21-14 lead.
Scrubb’s dunk at the 2:59 mark of the second quarter gave Trinity the lead for good, 16-14.
“I felt that dunk would get us going, and it did,” Scrubb said.
Klein said Scrubb provided “one or two highlight-reel plays” on every Trinity film he had watched in preparation for Friday’s matchup.
“He’s an absolute basketball player,” Klein said. “I don’t think many teams are going to have an answer for him, and he took over the game. We probably held every other guy on their team under their season averages, but that guy is just a load. Unbelievable player.”
Trinity took control early in the third quarter as a Burkman 3-pointer sparked an 8-0 run that made it 29-16.
St. X got within 31-25 on Sam Boarman’s 3-pointer with 2:31 left in the third quarter but never got closer. Trinity hit 17 of 20 free throws in the fourth quarter to seal it.
Already deep, the Shamrocks added another piece Friday when senior point guard Jacob King made his season debut. King, a Campbellsville University signee who averaged a team-high 14.2 points per game last season, missed the team’s first 14 games with a broken pinky finger on his left hand.
King finished with six points in 12 minutes of action, making 6 of 6 free throws.
“I just wanted to introduce him to the flow,” Szabo said. “I thought he did a nice job. It was good for him to get some minutes tonight. That’s going to be a process that’s going to take several weeks”
Jason Frakes can be reached at (502) 582-4046 and firstname.lastname@example.org.
ST. XAVIER (9-5) – James Taylor 6p; Tyler Barnes 5p, 9r; Paul Oberst 9p, 7s; Evan Walker 2p; Pierce Kiesler 15p; Chase Westenhofer 2p; Jack Koch 3p; Sam Boarman 8p.
TRINITY (14-1) – David Burton 3p; David Johnson 9p, 6r, 3a; L.J. Harris 6p; Justin Powell 3p; Lukas Burkman 9p; Jacob King 6p; Jay Scrubb 25p.