The Trinity Lutheran boys basketball team managed one lead in a lop-sided 88-66 loss at Salem on Saturday.
Salem attacked early in the contest, taking a 25-15 lead after eight minutes of play.
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The Lions then went on a 19-12 run to start the second quarter that ended on a 3-pointer by Trinity’s Chad Stuckwisch at 41-24 with 2:23 left in the first half.
At intermission, Salem led 49-32.
Cougars senior Daniel Horton opened the second half with a pair of free throws, but the Cougars continued to struggle on both ends of the floor as they trailed 69-45 after three quarters.
Salem opened the fourth on a quick 6-0 run, off four Cougars turnovers.
“At times, it felt like they were playing at a higher speed than we were,” Cougars coach Aaron Rudzinski said. “We had too many breakdowns on defense.”
Jacob Schult would hit three 3-pointers in the winding minutes, but the Cougars couldn’t dig themselves out of a 29 points hole.
The Cougars won the battle of the boards 34-23 in the rebounding totals.
Horton led the Cougars with 24 points and 11 rebounds and Schult chipped in 20 behind four 3s.
The Lions made 10 3-pointers on the night, shooting 70 percent from beyond the arc.
“Daniel (Horton) had a nice game,” Rudzinski said. “He was about the only one who stepped up and provided offense for us. We didn’t have anyone who could consistently shoot from the outside when the game was already in (Salem’s) hand.
“We don’t have a great 3-point shooting team, but we need to find a way to open the court up a little bit and hit those shots. Right now, they’re keying-in on Daniel and we need to find some numbers from some other guys.”
Hunter Weedin, Jeffrey Burch and Seth Hobson topped the Lions with 17 points each.
“We may have slightly underestimated their ability to shoot the 3-pointer,” Rudzinski said. I would say half of the shots, we contested. They just lit it up.”
“It’s a good learning experience. We didn’t’ expect a result like this. We need to look at ourselves a little bit. We need to increase the intensity and step it up a little bit.”
The Cougars (1-2) will host Austin tomorrow.