As if state football champion, Mr. Football and U.S. Army All-American Bowl MVP weren’t enough, James Quick added another superlative to his winter of content.
The Trinity High School senior hit the game-winning free throw with one second left — after a controversial foul call — and was named the L.J. “Butch” Charmoli MVP as the Shamrocks beat Ballard 53-52 in Saturday’s championship game of the Republic Bank Louisville Invitational Tournament at Valley.
Quick posted 19 points, six rebounds and five steals as Trinity (15-4) backed up its No. 1 spot in The Courier-Journal’s Litkenhous Ratings with its second straight LIT championship and third in four years. Pleasure Ridge Park was the last team to win back-to-back LIT crowns, in 1999-2000.
“As far as James goes, how can you not believe in that kid?” Trinity coach Mike Szabo said. “He’s just a winner. He just finds a way. He has such a moxie and so much confidence, and the rest of our team really feeds off that and they become better as well.”
The Shamrocks needed that lift because they played the entire tournament without senior starters Darryl Hicks (foot injury) and Sam Strothman (flu). Hicks is Trinity’s leading scorer (17.1 ppg) and second-leading rebounder (6.1).
Quick said the team never lost faith.
“We came out and told Coach that we were going to win this game, just for the simple fact that we had two guys out,” said Quick, who committed to play football for the University of Louisville earlier this month. “We had to do it for them. They’re not here, so we have to fill their places with our speed and our talent.”
Trey Ivory added 13 points and three assists for the Shamrocks, who shot 48.7 percent (19 of 39).
Kelan Martin (21 points, eight rebounds) and Quentin Snider (16 points, three steals) led No. 2 Ballard (15-4), which shot just 33.3 percent (16 of 48).
Bruins coach Chris Renner questioned the officiating — and his team’s toughness.
“They were just tougher than us down the stretch,” he said. “There were two (three-point) plays that were toughness plays … so we have to find a way to get our kids tougher. We had our chances, and we blew it.”
Zach Caggins’ free throw gave Ballard a 50-46 lead with 1:03 remaining, but Raymond Spalding’s three-point play pulled the Shamrocks within 50-49 with 45 seconds left.
Snider’s two free throws made it 52-49, but Craig Owens answered with another three-point play to tie the score with 14.4 seconds left.
Snider drove the lane but missed a jumper, and the game appeared to be headed for overtime as the buzzer sounded. But Ballard’s Jalen Perry was called for a foul while trying to rebound Snider’s miss, and one second was put back on the clock.
Quick missed the first free throw, but his second one rolled in. What was he thinking after missing the first shot?
“Make the second one,” he said with a smile. “You can’t miss two in a row.”
Quick — who else? — intercepted the Bruins’ inbounds pass to end the game.
Renner had received a technical foul with 5:52 left in the third quarter for what he thought was overly physical defense by Trinity on Martin in the paint, and he wasn’t pleased with the last-second foul call on Perry.
“You can’t allow a game to be played that way and then call an over-the-back with one second,” said Renner, adding that officials aren’t living up to their preseason pledge to clean up physical play. “Let it be determined in overtime.”
Quick, who suffered three broken ribs in November during football season, said he’s still not 100 percent in basketball shape. But he said his whirlwind month — including that trip to San Antonio for the U.S. Army All-American Bowl on Jan. 5 — hasn’t left him tired.
“It’s been a grind, but you just have to come out and work hard,” he said. “With the teammates I have surrounding me, it’s always great.”
TRINITY 15 11 9 18 – 53
BALLARD 10 16 8 18 – 52
Trinity (15-4) – Ivory 13, Rice 6, Spalding 5, Quick 19, Owens 7, Page 3.
Ballard (15-4) – Martin 21, Snider 16, Haick 4, Perry 3, Holland 6, Caggins 1, Douglas 1.
3-point goals: Ivory 2; Snider 4.
All-tournament team: Craig Owens, Trey Ivory (Trinity); Kelan Martin, Quentin Snider (Ballard); Cory Thomas, Boo Crabtree (Fairdale); Jamon Sanford, Jaelin Sanford (Moore); Moe Hendricks (Jeffersontown); Jeremiah Bell (Butler); LaMontray Harris (Pleasure Ridge Park); Dominique Chandler (Central).
L.J. “Butch” Charmoli MVP: James Quick (Trinity).