High school basketball in December sometimes can be ugly – even for a pair of top-10 teams.
That was Trinity coach Mike Szabo’s assessment after his team posted a 47-43 victory over Lafayette in Thursday’s first round of the Forcht Bank King of the Bluegrass Holiday Classic at Fairdale.
The teams combined for more turnovers (35) than field goals (30), and neither shot well – Trinity at 34.6 percent and Lafayette at 30.8.
But the Shamrocks (4-0) – No. 4 in the state in The Courier-Journal’s preseason poll of coaches – survived and advanced to face Fairdale in Saturday’s 6 p.m. quarterfinal. No. 9 Lafayette dropped to 3-3.
“It wasn’t pretty,” Szabo said before searching for a bright spot. “I guess you could say supposedly two top-10 teams maybe being really good defensively?”
Trinity got a big lift from 6-foot-9 junior Raymond Spalding, who posted 17 points, nine rebounds and four blocks. Tre Ivory added 11 points.
Lance Blakley had 10 points to lead Lafayette. Jackson Davis, a 6-9 senior who has committed to Rice, had six points and eight rebounds but played just 1:46 of the first half after getting two fouls.
Neither team led by more than five points, and the Generals tied the score at 43 on two Harrison Lane free throws with 56.9 seconds left. After a Trinity timeout, Spalding made a baby hook shot in the lane for a 45-43 lead with 20 seconds left.
Lafayette committed a turnover with 8.3 seconds left, but Ivory missed the front end of a one-and-one with 7.6 seconds remaining. Blakley hit a 3-pointer with 3.3 seconds left that would have given Lafayette the lead but had stepped out of bounds beforehand, giving the ball back to Trinity.
Jax Levitch sank two free throws with 2.4 seconds left for the final margin.
* The only two starters back from last season’s team that reached the Sixth Region Tournament semifinals, Fairdale seniors Cory Thomas and Caleb Longacre showed they’re comfortable carrying the load.Fairdale 74, Elizabethtown 58:
Thomas scored 27 points and Longacre added a career-high 26 as the host Bulldogs (3-2) beat the Panthers (4-1).
“They’ve really developed some good chemistry with each other,” said Fairdale coach Gregg Longacre, Caleb’s father.
Thomas had seven rebounds, six steals and four assists and Terik Mason pitched in nine points and 13 rebounds for Fairdale.
Dominique Harding had 16 points, three assists and three blocks to lead E’town.
* Tanner Moeves had 19 points, Drew McDonald 16 and Jake Schulte 12, and they combined to make 18 of 24 shots as the Thoroughbreds (4-0), No. 12 in The Courier-Journal’s preseason poll of coaches, controlled the Rebels.Newport Central Catholic 68, Memphis (Tenn.) Mitchell 47:
Mitchell (3-5) had difficulty attacking NewCath’s newly implemented zone defense and shooting over the frontline of 6-foot-8 Schulte, a South Carolina Upstate signee, 6-7 McDonald and 6-6 Ben Weyer. The Thoroughbreds, who broke open the game with a 17-4 third-quarter run, shot 61.4 percent to Mitchell’s 36.4 percent.