The seven seniors on Trinity Lutheran’s boys basketball team wouldn’t be denied a victory on a night where they were honored against visiting Jackson County rivals Crothersville.
With a dominant display in the early minutes, the Cougars were able to cruise to a 81-47 victory.
In the first quarter, Trinity forced the Tigers to commit 10 turnovers.
Leading 8-7 with 2:28 left in the opening eight minutes, the Cougars went on a 9-0 run behind a 3-pointer by Dylan Maschino, a basket from Luke Onken and four points by Keegan Rebber.
“We started in a man defense, and we wanted to front (Crothersville’s) Eli Mollet at all times,” Cougars coach Aaron Rudzinski said. “We tried to get in the passing lanes and defend the dribble-drive. A lot of our good defense led to turnovers.”
Tyler Luedeman had all seven of Crothersville’s points in the first quarter.
The Cougars opened the second quarter on a 13-4 run behind six points by Chad Stuckwisch.
In the final 2:02 of the half, Trinity senior Daniel Horton scored eight of the Cougars’ 11 points to take a 43-23 lead into intermission.
Seven different members of Trinity scored in the third quarter, as the Cougars led 60-32 after 24 minutes.
Trinity started the fourth quarter on a 14-0 run as they coasted to the win.
Tigers coach Greg Kilgore said that his team needs to feed the hot hand in games.
“We have to understand that when we have success, we need to not go away from what’s working,” he said. “We seem to think that once one guy gets going that we need to try to get another going, even if the opposing team hasn’t keyed in a player that’s hot.”
Horton led the Cougars with 26 points and 13 rebounds, Stuckwisch had 15 and Rebber netted 13.
Nine different members of the Trinity Lutheran squad scored on the night.
“We shared the ball really well tonight,” Rudzinski said. “Our guys are always looking to make a good pass. Sometimes we get a little careless and have turnovers. It’s important to not have selfish players on your team.”
Luedeman topped the Tigers’ scoring with 12 points and Eli Mollet had 8.
“We had 10 of our 16 turnovers in the first quarter when we dug ourselves into the hole,” Kilgore said. “We play hard and with effort, but we need to play with more purpose. Right now, our kids need to believe that we can play with anyone. We have a different mindset when we play a team we usually beat versus a team we’ve struggled against in the past.”
Trinity outrebounded Crothersville 40-25 on the boards.
The Cougars narrowly won the turnovers battle 16-15.
Prior to the game, Rebber, Horton, Bobby Tabeling, Onken, Maschino, Jacob Schult and Jack Harweger were introduced as the Cougars’ senior group.
“It’s unique when you have seven seniors,” Rudzinski said. “All of them stuck with it once they came in. They mean a lot for the program. They have a lot of talent. It’s now actualizing as a senior group. They set the tone for the program putting in the work they need to succeed.”
Trinity Lutheran (12-6) will play at Paoli tonight and Crothersville (2-15) will host South Central (Elizabeth) on Feb. 6.