For the Tribune
The Trinity Lutheran boys’ basketball team learned the hard way that you can’t fall behind against a good team by double digits in the first period and expect to come out with a win.
The Cougars fell behind Scottsburg by 12 points late in the opening quarter, and although Trinity cut its deficit to 3 in the fourth quarter, coach Aaron Rudzinski’s team had too big of a hill to climb and lost 76-66 in the Bollinger Athletic Complex.
Trinity held a 9-7 lead following Toby VanLiew’s layup midway through the first quarter.
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The Warriors then went on a 14-0 run and stayed ahead the rest of the night.
“First of all, letting them get us down early, it took a few minutes, hurt us and then we had to had to play catch up all night,” Rudzinski said. “We had two runs where we got back in the game, within a basket or two, but it was just having to fight back through those first couple minutes. I thought early-on, we actually played well, and then there was a stretch in that first quarter where we gave up a lot of points.”
Luke Stuckwisch scored a basket in the closing seconds of the quarter to make it a 21-11 score going into the second period. Trinity went on a 12-5 run over the first 3:55 of the second period, and cut Scottsburg’s lead to 26-23 with 4:05 on the clock. The Warriors rallied back to take a 39-27 lead at the break.
“They’re big, and athletic inside, and they’re the first team we’ve seen this year that has the same kind of players that we do as far as the inside presence, and (have) guys that can shoot from the outside,” Rudzinski said.
The Warriors extended the lead to 46-31 two minutes into the third period before Stuckwisch hit back-to-back 3-pointers, and Keegan Rebber and Daniel Horton followed with field goals to cut the difference to 52-48 before the visitors held a 53-48 lead going into the fourth period.
The closest the Cougars could get in the fourth was 57-54 on a rebound basket by Horton with 6:12 remaining.
Scottsburg (7-2) had balance with four players scoring five or more field goals. Brandon Boswell scored 23 points, while Christian Barrett netted 16, Evans 15 and Cameron Schmidt 14.
“We came out the second half wanting to play against Evans and Schmidt a little bit better,” Rudzinski said. “Schmidt hurt us with his penetration in the first half. I told Luke just try and stick a jump shot in his face. That’s one part of his game I think he won’t do. We tried to deny Evans the ball a little bit and really get out on the perimeter instead of guard drive first, and I think that seemed to make a difference. He only had one field goal in the second half.”
Evans and Boswell each made three 3-point shots.
“Evans hit three of those (3 pointers) in the first half, and I think we thought if he’s 5-feet behind the arc he’s not going to shoot it, but we found out he is. If we would take one thing away they would hit something else,” Rudzinski said.
The Cougars (5-1) also had balance with Stuckwisch and VanLiew scoring 18 each, Horton scored 13, and Jacob Christopher and Rebber had 8 each. Stuckwisch had four 3-pointers and Christopher made two.
“They’re one of the top teams in (Class) 3A,” Rudzinski said. “They’re a big, athletic team. We knew it was going to be a tough test. We were excited to get into this game and we’re going to use it as a measuring stick moving forward and try to get better, and try to be a team more like that, and a team that can win.”
Horton pulled down 10 rebounds to take game honors in that department.
Trinity will compete in the Edinburgh Tournament today and Tuesday. The Cougars will play Indianapolis Manual at 4 today and Edinburgh at 8 tonight in pool play.