LEXINGTON, Ky. — Top-ranked Trinity watched a 15-point halftime lead completely disappear as Henderson County rallied and held on for a 57-54 upset win Monday night in the semifinals of the Traditional Bank Holiday Classic at Lexington Catholic.
Henderson County (10-2) will face Lexington Catholic (9-4) in the finals at 7 p.m. Tuesday. The Knights advanced with a 65-47 win over Boyle County.
The Colonels, though, had their problems in the first half and the Shamrocks (8-3) led 33-18 at the half and appeared to be ready to cruise to a victory.
Trinity then became unglued in the third quarter as the Colonels scored the first eight points of the period.
“We came out of the locker room (in the third quarter) on the first possession and we were sleeping and never woke up,” Trinity coach Mike Szabo said. “That gave them the momentum. Hey, give them the credit. They wanted it more than we did.”
Henderson County used a 23-8 edge in the third to tie the game at 41.
“Our guys just believe they were supposed to be in the game,” Henderson County coach Tyler Smithhard said. “In a lot of circles, we weren’t supposed to be in that basketball game. But our kids believed.”
The Colonels’ David Simmons scored 15 of his game-high 28 points in the third to ignite the comeback, including a couple of rim-rattling alley-oop dunks and the last came just before the buzzer.
Simmons hit 7 of 13 shots and 12 of 13 from the free-throw line.
“He had great energy,” Szabo said of Simmons. “The kid plays really, really hard. He wanted to win really bad. You could tell.”
In the fourth quarter, the game went back and forth until Henderson County’s Bryce Crowley drilled a 3-pointer with 2:30 left, giving the Colonels a 49-47 edge. From there, Trinity couldn’t catch the Colonels, but Jax Levitch hit a 3-pointer from the right corner with 10 seconds left to pull the Shamrocks within 55-54.
Simmons then hit a couple of free throws with 4.8 seconds left. Trinity’s D’Angelo West missed a 3-pointer at the buzzer.
“We just focused on defensive rebounding,” Simmons said. “We played them this summer and lost to them by three at their place. So, I felt like we could play with them. … We didn’t have any doubts. We just came together as a family.”
University of Louisville signee Raymond Spalding and Bellarmine signee Daniel Ramser led the Shamrocks with 13 points apiece.
For Henderson County, Brady Norman added 17 points, hitting 7 of 10 shots.
Trinity hit 8 of 24 shots in the second half.
“Nothing we ran on offense was effective,” Szabo said. “We just didn’t meet their energy. … We got bounced around, pushed around and out-worked. If you don’t play hard, you’re not going to make shots.”
Trinity will return to Lexington Catholic on Tuesday to face Boyle County in the third-place game.
“We’ll show up and see how much pride we have,” Szabo said.
Lexington Catholic-Boyle County: The Knights came out blazing and blitzed the Rebels (10-2) for a 24-9 lead after the first quarter. The Lexington Catholic lead grew to 39-15 late in the third quarter behind the shooting of Tanner Johnson, who scored 20 of his game-high 31 points in the first half.
“That’s what he usually does for us,” Lexington Catholic coach Brandon Salsman said of Johnson. “He’s one of the best scorers in the state.”
Boyle County cut the deficit to 50-41 early in the fourth quarter when Hagen Tyler drilled a 3-pointer. The Knights then extended its lead with an 11-1 run.
Tyler led the Rebels with 16 points.
Boyle County (10-2) – Bean 11, Elkins 4, Bell 10, Hinkle 4, Tyler 16, Delcastillo 2.
Lexington Catholic (9-2) – Ryan 4, Boothe 8, Talbott 4, Griffin 15, Johnson 31, Ogbogu 3.
3-point goals – Bean 2, Bell 1, Hinkle 1, Tyler 2, Griffin 3, Johnson 5, Ogbogu 1.
Henderson County (10-2) – Simmons 28, Crowley 3, Mattingly 1, Washington 7, Norman 17, Smith 1.
Trinity (8-3) – Thieneman 5, Spalding 13, Levitch 9, Ramser 13, Stafford 7, West 7.
3-point goals – Simmons 2, Crowley 1, Norman 1, Thieneman 1, Levitch 2, Ramser 1, West 1.