It wasn’t the way the Jeffersonville boys’ basketball team wanted its first game in renovated Johnson Arena to go.
Visiting Trinity rained a barrage of 3-pointers down on the Red Devils on its way to a 63-44 win Tuesday night. The Shamrocks, who are ranked No. 10 in The Courier-Journal’s preseason polling of Kentucky coaches, hit 12 trifectas – including seven in the first quarter – on their way to the 19-point victory.
“That’s a very good basketball team,” first-year Jeff coach Joe Luce said. “If you score 27 points from the 3-point line in the first half, it’s hard to overcome.”
Trinity junior guard Jacob King scored a game-high 19 points while his classmates, David Burton and Lukas Burkman, added 13 points apiece. Those three and senior Christian Terry each hit three 3-pointers for the Shamrocks.
Senior Dechaun Lewis was the only player in double digits for Jeff (0-2). He tallied 12.
It was the season-opener for the Shamrocks, who lost all five starters and seven who are currently playing college basketball (including University of Louisville freshman Ray Spalding) from a team that went 24-6 last season, but it didn’t show.
Part of the refurbishing of Johnson Arena included a fancy new paint job on the floor that includes giant red flames in the lane under each basket.
But it was the visitor who came out red hot with Trinity hitting its first five shots, including a trio of 3-pointers by Burton, to jump out a 14-2 lead. After a couple of misses, the Shamrocks hit two more 3s to cap a 20-0 run and push their lead to 20-2.
On the other end, there might as well have been ice cubes under the Red Devils’ hoop. Jeff missed nine straight shots after Dechaun Lewis’ rebound basket started the scoring before Demar’re Sims tipped in a teammate’s miss.
Trinity led 23-5 after the first quarter, but the Red Devils didn’t relent. They outscored the Shamrocks 19-11 in the second quarter to pull within 34-24 at halftime.
Jeff then scored the first six points, which included a steal and thunderous breakaway dunk by Lewis, of the second half to cut it to four.
But then Trinity got hot from long-range again. Christian Terry hit a pair of 3-pointers from the corner to spark a 10-2 run by the Shamrocks, pushing their lead to 44-32.
“I thought our guys did a great job of not allowing (Trinity’s start) to be a complete distraction and they continued to fight and battle and put ourselves in a position where we did have a game in the third quarter,” said Luce, whose team was coming off a 61-56 loss to then-No. 1 Southport last Wednesday. “Then again we got back to losing our men in some transition there and they made some big shots from the perimeter.”