Field set for upcoming Louisville Invitational Tournament
Ranked No. 4 in the Seventh Region in a preseason poll of coaches, the Trinity High School basketball team has exceeded expectations and finds itself as the team to beat in Louisville’s most prestigious tournament.
The Shamrocks on Friday were awarded the No. 1 seed for the 69th annual Republic Bank Louisville Invitational Tournament set for Jan. 11-16 at Valley. The event will include the top 20 teams from the Sixth and Seventh regions in the SETH Power Rankings, a system created by Jefferson County Public Schools director of athletics Jerry Wyman.
Trinity (12-2) was the runner-up in a pair of prestigious holiday tournaments, falling to Brentwood (Tenn.) Academy 71-64 on Dec. 23 in the final of the King of the Bluegrass Holiday Classic at Fairdale and 71-60 to Paul Dunbar on Wednesday in the final of the Traditional Bank Holiday Classic at Lexington Catholic.
The Shamrocks have prospered behind a traditionally sticky defense and a bevy of long-range shooting aces led by junior Jacob King (16.8 ppg), senior Gabe Schmitt (12.4 ppg) and junior Lukas Burkman (11.2 ppg).
Trinity averages 20 3-point attempts per game and is shooting 44.5 percent from behind the arc.
“I’m really happy with our team,” coach Mike Szabo said. “I love the way they fight, and they play hard and they’re great teammates. We’ll just keep getting better and better.”
Following Trinity as the top four seeds are Ballard, Bullitt East and Male. The tournament will begin Monday, Jan. 11, with four first-round games. Second-round games are set for Jan. 12-13, quarterfinals on Jan. 15 and semifinals and final (8 p.m.) on Jan. 16.
Trinity and Ballard both would be considered surprises by many as the top two seeds after losing loads of talent from last season.
Trinity lost eight seniors, including all five starters, from a 24-6 squad. Ballard lost its top three scorers (Jalen Perry, Anthony Eaves and Corey Douglas) from a 32-3 team that reached the quarterfinals of the state tournament.
Ballard is 8-5 after beating Memphis (Tenn.) Whitehaven 50-48 on Wednesday in the third-place game of the Next Level Hoops Fest at Nashville (Tenn.) Christ Presbyterian Academy. The Bruins won the consolation bracket of the King of the Bluegrass Holiday Classic.
Third-seeded Bullitt East is 11-2 after beating San Diego’s Mission Bay 78-68 on Wednesday for fourth place in the Surf ‘N Slam Hoop Classic in San Diego. Senior guard Tyler Sharpe was named to the all-tournament team. The Chargers finished third in the King of the Bluegrass Holiday Classic.
Fourth-seeded Male has been a pleasant surprise under first-year coach Willie Feldhaus. The Bulldogs are 10-2 after beating Lexington Christian 70-61 on Wednesday in the third-place game of the Lake Cumberland Holiday Hoops Classic in Somerset, Ky.
The 20-team LIT field includes 10 teams each from the Sixth and Seventh regions. DeSales and Fairdale tied for the 20th and final spot in the field. Wyman said DeSales earned the spot based on records against common opponents, with the Colts going 3-1 against Holy Cross, North Bullitt, Southern and Butler and the Bulldogs going 2-2 against the same four.
Wyman called the event a “murderers’ row.”
“It’s going to be a fun week,” he said. “Watching the games play out over Christmas break, I don’t know if there’s a lot of great basketball or if everybody is kind of even. I think Trinity stand out, and Bullitt East is obviously playing really, really well. Male is playing well, too.
“I like the top four seeds we have and the way it played out.”
Jason Frakes can be reached at (502) 582-4046 and firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here’s the schedule (seeds in parentheses):
* Monday, Jan. 11 – Southern (17) vs. Valley (16), 3:30 p.m.; Western (19) vs. Butler (14), 5; Christian Academy (18) vs. Waggener (15), 6:30; DeSales (20) vs. Kentucky Country Day (13), 8:15
* Tuesday, Jan. 12 – Central (10) vs. Fern Creek (7), 3:30 p.m.; Manual (9) vs. Eastern (8), 5; St. Xavier (11) vs. North Bullitt (6), 6:30; Pleasure Ridge Park (12) vs. Doss (5), 8:15
* Wednesday, Jan. 13 – DeSales-Kentucky Country Day winner vs. Male (4), 3:30; Christian Academy-Waggener winner vs. Ballard (2), 5; Southern-Valley winner vs. Trinity (1), 6:30; Western-Butler winner vs. Bullitt East (3), 8:15
* Friday, Jan. 15 – Quarterfinals at 4, 5:30, 7 and 8:45 p.m.
* Saturday, Jan. 16 – Semifinals at 10 and 11:30 a.m.; final at 8 p.m.