Slowed by foul trouble in the first half, Raymond Spalding found his groove in the final two quarters and helped lead the Trinity High School basketball team to a victory over its rival.
The 6-foot-10 University of Louisville signee scored 10 points — all in the second half — and added seven rebounds, four blocks and two steals to help the Shamrocks beat St. Xavier 57-47 on Friday before an estimated crowd of 5,000 at Broadbent Arena.
Spalding was called for two fouls and played just seven minutes in the first half, a key factor in the Tigers taking a 28-24 halftime lead.
“I had to get my groove back after that,” Spalding said. “I just tried to let the game come to me. At halftime (coach Mike Szabo) talked to us about the pressure and the atmosphere and said just to take it all in and calm down.”
Marshall signee Christian Thieneman scored 14 of his team-high 17 points in the first half as Trinity — No. 1 in the state in The Courier-Journal’s Litkenhous Ratings — improved to 10-3. The Shamrocks had four players score in double figures, with Bellarmine signee Daniel Ramser posting 14 points and Jax Levitch adding 12.
Ashanti Burgess hit 4 of 6 3-point tries and scored a game-high 20 points to lead the Tigers (9-5). After shooting 50 percent (10 of 20) in the first half, the Tigers slipped to 35.3 percent (6 of 17) in the second.
“I just think some physical fatigue led to mental fatigue,” Tigers coach Kevin Klein said. “A lot of guys logged a lot of minutes, and those were some big bodies we were banging against. That takes a toll over time.”
Burgess scored 15 of his points in the first half and hit a 3-pointer to give St. X its biggest lead, 27-22, with 59 seconds left in the first half.
Meanwhile, Spalding and point guard Michael Stafford both picked up their second fouls early in the second quarter and missed the remainder of the half. The Shamrocks shot just 34.8 percent (8 of 23) in the half.
“Our intensity needed to go up,” Szabo said. “I thought we needed to play harder and more focused. We had a lot of defensive breakdowns in the first half, and it was difficult for us to get into our offense from that.”
Trinity opened the third quarter with a full-court press and forced St. X into turnovers on four of its first five possessions. Spalding converted with back-to-back dunks to give the Shamrocks a 33-31 lead at the 5:48 mark.
Burgess’ basket gave the Tigers a 36-33 lead midway through the period before Trinity answered with an 11-1 run. Levitch started the surge with a 3-pointer and Spalding finished it with a putback for a 44-37 lead with 4:58 remaining.
“We were playing a little slow, so we picked up the speed a little bit and caused some turnovers,” Levitch said. “That helped us get going a little bit.”
Lucas Miller’s 3-pointer pulled the Tigers within 44-40 with 4:30 remaining, but the Tigers never got closer.
Trinity’s victory tied the all-time series with St. X at 37-37. The teams could meet Wednesday in the Louisville Invitational Tournament at Valley. St. X will face North Bullitt at 8:15 p.m. Monday in a first-round game, with the winner advancing to face Trinity in the second round.
Trinity and St. X had played their regular-season game at Freedom Hall since 2004 but moved to Broadbent Arena because of a Monster Jam trucks show being held at Freedom Hall. St. X athletic director Alan Donhoff, whose school will serve as host of the game next season, said Broadbent Arena and Freedom Hall are being considered as sites for future St. X-Trinity games.
Jason Frakes can be reached at (502) 582-4046 and followed on Twitter @kyhighs.
St. Xavier (9-5) – Burgess 20, Rudy 3, Miller 9, Olsen 3, Shanklin 8, McKim 4.
Trinity (10-3) – Levitch 12, Ramser 14, Thieneman 17, Stafford 2, Spalding 10, Murphy 2.
3-point goals – Burgess 4, Rudy, Miller 3, Shanklin; Levitch 3, Ramser 2, Thieneman 2.