The Trinity High School basketball team was outscored by Paul Dunbar in three of four quarters Monday night, but for one eight-minute period the Shamrocks were dominant enough to put the game away.
Trinity hit six 3-pointers in the second quarter, outscored the Bulldogs 32-12 and took control on its way to an 81-70 victory in a quarterfinal of the Forcht Bank King of the Bluegrass Holiday Classic at Fairdale.
“That second quarter was awesome, just really good basketball,” Trinity coach Mike Szabo said. “I’m really proud of the way our guys came focused tonight because Dunbar is a really good team.”
The Shamrocks – No. 10 in the state in The Courier-Journal’s preseason poll of coaches – continued to display the teamwork and sharp shooting that has led them to an 8-0 record and a spot in Tuesday’s 7:30 p.m. semifinal against the Bullitt East-Central winner.
Trinity shot 60 percent (30 of 50) overall, including 10 of 17 from 3-point range, and finished with 15 assists. David Burton was the leader with five.
Gabe Schmitt hit 3 of 5 3-point tries and scored 22 points to lead the Shamrocks. Jacob King was 3 of 3 from behind the arc and added 18 points. L.J. Harris pitched in 12 points.
“We don’t really care who scores,” Schmitt said. “We have a great point guard in Jacob (King), and he distributes it to everyone. And everyone can knock down shots.”
Darius Williams scored 26 points and Taveion Hollingsworth added 17 points and eight rebounds to lead No. 3 Paul Dunbar (7-1).
Bulldogs coach Scott Chalk said he’s not surprised to see Trinity prospering.
“If you know basketball, you know they’re one of the best teams in the state,” Chalk said. “If they’re not right there, I’ll be shocked. No. 1, they shoot it great from a lot of positions. More important, they have guys who are fundamental and handle the ball well enough that you’re not going to take it.”
Trinity endured its typical slow start, falling behind 7-0, and still trailed 15-13 at the end of the first quarter before getting hot.
Dontell Brown’s basket tied the score at 19 before the Shamrocks went on a 20-2 run. Schmitt hit a pair of 3-pointers, King nailed one and David Johnson’s 3 gave Trinity a 39-21 bulge with 2:20 left in the first half.
“We’re a team that shares the ball pretty well and plays unselfish,” Szabo said. “I thought we did a nice job of executing and getting some guys loose there in the first half so we could get some 3s off.”
Trinity maintained a double-digit lead the rest of the game, with Paul Dunbar pulling within 10 points on two occasions. The second came after a pair of Vince Clark free throws made it 70-60 with 3:12 remaining.
But Scmitt answered with a layup and a 3-pointer to push the lead to 75-60 with 2:45 left.
Szabo credited Schmitt with being his team’s spark Monday.
“He’s playing really smart and playing like a senior,” Szabo said. “He’s not a vocal leader, but he’s a guy who leads by example. … He’s producing and stepping up. His game has really improved off the bounce. He’s much better at driving the basketball and finishing at the rim.”
Jason Frakes can be reached at (502) 582-4046 and firstname.lastname@example.org.
TRINITY 13 32 17 19 – 81
PAUL DUNBAR 15 12 20 23 – 70
Trinity (8-0) – King 18, Burton 8, Johnson 6, Schmitt 22, Harris 12, King 2, Terry 4, Burkman 9.
Paul Dunbar (7-1) – Lewis 2, Brown 11, Hollingsworth 17, Kelley 5, Clark 9, Williams 26.
3-point goals – King 3, Burton 2, Johnson 2, Schmitt 3; Clark, Williams.