Jay Scrubb scored 15 points and Lukas Burkman added 14 to lead visiting Trinity past Central 55-40 Friday night.
The victory didn’t come easy for the Shamrocks (26-3), the No. 3 team in The Courier-Journal Litkenhous Ratings. While they never trailed in the contest, they found themselves up just 38-36 in the first minute of the fourth quarter.
However, the Rocks dominated the rest of the way, using a 17-1 run over a nearly six-minute span to finally put away a Yellowjackets squad that has now lost six straight.
Burkman, a senior guard, hit two 3-pointers during the run. He said the key to the run came from Trinity playing stronger defense.
“We locked in and helped each other out,” he said. “We weren’t doing that the first three quarters as you could tell. It was a lot of 1-on-1. Even on offense, we weren’t moving the ball that well.”
Where the Shamrocks started helping each other out on defense, Central coach Doug Bibby said his team didn’t do a good job of finding the open man on the floor in the final period. The Yellowjackets (12-14) also missed out on a few opportunities earlier in the game, he said.
“We can’t miss opportunities against a team like that,” Bibby said. “Being three and five and six points behind is really like being 10-to-12 points behind because, especially when they get the ball on the offensive end, they’re going to share the basketball. They’re going to execute. They’re going to work some time off the clock. They’re going to get good looks.”
MORE PREPS COVERAGE
Trinity got several good looks in the final period, as the Rocks made 8-of-10 in the fourth quarter. Trinity shot 47.7 percent (21-of-44), but that included a 1-for-10 second quarter. The Rocks took a 23-20 lead into halftime, despite scoring just three points in that period.
Dominique Knight, who led all scorers with 18, got Central within a point on a layup 39 seconds into the second half, but Scrubb made sure Central didn’t get any closer by scoring 10 of his points in that period.
Since losing two in a row last month – to Fern Creek in overtime in the Louisville Invitational Tournament and 60-59 at Oldham County – the Rocks have reeled off eight straight victories. The Yellowjackets provided Trinity with its narrowest margin during the streak as the Rocks have won by an average of 26 points over the past month.
Trinity will look to keep its winning ways going on Monday when it hosts Atherton in a 27th District first-round match. The Rocks beat the Rebels 76-41 two weeks ago.
“I didn’t think we played particularly well tonight, but I think our guys are excited about the postseason,” Trinity coach Mike Szabo said.
And the Shamrocks know what they want to accomplish over the next few weeks.
“Our mindset right now is: We’re going to go to state and we’re going to win,” Burkman said. “We’re just preparing every day and working hard in the gym, and really focusing on practice.”
Central seeks to reverse its fortunes when they play Shawnee in the 25th District semifinals on Wednesday at Manual. The Jackets, who have advanced to a regional tournament every year since 1997, won at Shawnee 78-42 on Dec. 9.
“If we can play a tough game like this with Trinity going into the playoff week, hopefully we can carry over, improve from our mistakes and be a better team next week,” Bibby said.
TRINITY 55, CENTRAL 40
Trinity (26-3, 8-0 Seventh Region)
Jacob King 7p, David Burton 5p, David Johnson 10p, L.J. Harris 2p, Hay Scrubb 15p, Stan Turnier 2p, Lukas Burkman 14p.
Central (12-14, 6-6 Seventh Region)
Derron Douglas 12p, Dominique Knight 18p, Andrew Crittenden 2p, Joshua Black 3p, Josh Watkins 5p.