For the Tribune
Trinity Lutheran scored the first
8 points of Tuesday’s game against Hauser to lead all the way and register a 60-50 win in the Bollinger Athletic Complex.
The Cougars held a 31-24 lead at halftime and a 42-34 advantage entering the fourth period.
The Jets scored the first five points of the fourth period to close to 42-39 on a basket by Quindon Shipley with seven minutes remaining, but that was as close as the visitors could get.
Hauser coach Bob Nobbe said Trinity’s size, with 6-foot-7 Toby VanLiew and 6-5 Daniel Horton, was one of the differences in the game as Horton had 17 points and 10 rebounds, and VanLiew had 11 points and 14 rebounds.
Nobbe said Trinity’s balance was another factor.
“Trinity has a really nice combination of young men who can shoot the ball really well, and those two big men on the inside, you put that combination out there on the floor, and I thought it served them well on both ends,” he said.
Throughout the game the Cougars changed up their offense.
“When tried to pack our defense down and take some of the middle away, they hit some big from the outside, and there at the end we were spread out and tried to put some pressure on them, and I think came up a few shots short,” Nobbe said.
VanLiew opened the scoring with a move to the basket, Horton followed with a 3-point play, and Jacob Christopher followed with a 3-point basket to make it 8-0 with 5:38 on the clock.
Christopher finished with two 3-pointers, and Keegan Rebber topped the Cougars with 18 points.
The Cougars attempted 30 free throws, making 20, while the Jets were 11-for-15 at the line.
Trinity coach Aaron Rudzinski said he was pleased with the defensive effort of his team.
“We had our focus tonight on defense and really just contain their guards,” he said. “They have a lot of quick guards, and we were looking to make sure that we didn’t give up anything easy. We weren’t able to stick with that plan throughout. They had a couple opportunities with a guy inside, but for the most part I thought we played good defense and pressured their shots.”
Both coaches felt size played factor on the night.
“We knew we had to use that size to our advantage,” Rudzinski said. “I didn’t think they’d match up as well inside, so we ran several plays to get the ball inside, and toward the end of the game we really wanted to get them to come out and play defense on us and spread them out. Our post guys can dribble the ball and handle the ball as well as our guards.”
The Jets’ Zach Johnson, a 6-0 junior guard, topped all players with 20 points, including 8 in the fourth period. Zach Gearhart added 12 points and topped the Jets (1-2) with 7 rebounds.
“We were tested more this week,” Rudzinski said. “We knew Hauser was going to come in with a lot of intensity. They are a very well-coached team, and they weren’t going to make a lot of mistakes and even though we might have had a height advantage, they were going to give us all we could handle. I think our intensity level was a lot better (than last week).”