Two downfalls in the second half led to Trinity Lutheran’s boys basketball team suffering its second loss of the season.
In Tuesday night’s championship game of the Johnson Memorial Hospital Sports Plus Inc. Holiday Classic at Edinburgh, the Cougars missed their first 10 shots from the field in the half.
They also weren’t able to prevent Jac-Cen-Del from driving through the lane to the basket.
The result was a 59-52 setback.
“I just think that we didn’t really get ourselves in position to get good shots,” Cougars coach Aaron Rudzinski said of the cold start to the second half.
“(The Eagles) were kind of dictating where we need to be on our offense, and that was one of the points that we made at halftime and throughout the game was cut harder, make your screens better, get in position to get good shots,” he said.
It didn’t help the Cougars that the Eagles shot 50 percent from the field in the final 16 minutes of the game. Trinity, meanwhile, was only 33 percent.
“We had a hard time preventing dribble penetration tonight,” Rudzinski said. “We knew that they had a couple guys that could really get to the basket, and I thought that we could contain them pretty well. They just pushed their way in, and we weren’t able to stop it.”
First-quarter scoring went back-and-forth until Jac-Cen-Del closed on a 6-0 run in the final three minutes for a 16-11 edge.
The Eagles led by six a couple of times in the second quarter until Luke Stuckwisch scored seven of the Cougars’ points during a 9-0 run for a 24-21 lead with 3:20 to go in the half.
Trinity led by three on Jacob Christopher’s drive at 2:50, but Jac-Cen-Del’s Devon Wilson nailed a 3-pointer from the right wing a minute later. That tied the score at 26, which held at halftime.
The Eagles then scored the first nine points of the second half, while the Cougars couldn’t get anything to fall.
Daniel Horton ended the slump with a 3-pointer at 2:05 to make it 35-29, but the Eagles led 41-37 going into the final quarter.
An 8-0 run by Jac-Cen-Del midway through the fourth quarter helped the Eagles seal the win and improve to 7-2.
Evan Borgman, a 6-foot-8 junior for Jac-Cen-Del, scored 12 of his 16 points in the second half, while 5-10 junior guard Tyler Huff led all scorers with 17 points.
For Trinity (7-2), Stuckwisch led with 15 points, followed by Toby VanLiew’s 14 points, and Horton’s 11.
“This is a disappointing loss, for sure,” Rudzinski said. “But we lost to a good team. They are definitely a solid team, and I think this could be a wake-up call for our team. We’re playing hard … but sometimes, you need wake-up calls, and I think this is hopefully a wake-up call for us to get back to business and to work hard.”