Cougars defense leads way to win

Trinity Lutheran boys basketball coach Brian Stuckwisch said the team has been working on defense in practice the last couple weeks, and it appears that work is beginning to pay dividends.

The Cougars were able to force 18 turnovers in a 66-42 win Friday night against Shawe Memorial at the Bollinger Athletic Complex.

“We all agreed it was an area we needed to work and we have been working on our defense the last couple weeks,” Stuckwisch said. “We know that to win more games we needed to increase our defensive intensity, especially in the second half, and I think it showed tonight.”

The Cougars (4-9) were led by senior Kendall White’s 17 points and nine rebounds.

White also tallied an impressive sequence of plays where he blocked a shot, stole the ball, and scored on the other end of the floor.

“He was really determined tonight,” Stuckwisch said. “It helped that we were able to get the ball to him well, because we have been struggling to see him while he was open in the post and we did a better job of moving the ball to him. I hope he builds off of this for the rest of the year.”

The game started with White scoring first for the Cougars and the Hilltoppers answering with a three-pointer from junior Brayden Sedam.

White answered with a turnaround shot and the Cougars did not trail for the rest of the game. White’s turnaround shot opened an 8-0 run by the Cougars before the Hilltoppers’ Schuyler Edwards scored.

The Cougars answered with a 6-0 run with Colton Wischmeier scoring all six points. Wischmeier finished the night with 13 points and two rebounds.

The first quarter ended with the Cougars ahead 18-9.

The second quarter also featured a large run by the Cougars with the team scoring 10 unanswered points in the middle of the quarter. Trinity used four different players – Wischmeier, Jacob Rowe, Chad Stuckwisch, and Sklyer Stahl – to complete the run.

That run contributed to a 35-23 lead in favor of the Cougars at the half.

The third quarter opened with both teams trading possessions before the Cougars went on an 11-0 run. That run lasted a majority of the quarter as the Hilltoppers did not score their second basket until 36 seconds remained in the quarter.

The team only tallied five points in the quarter.

Trinity built a dominating 52-28 at the end of the third.

The Cougars were able to use many players off the bench during the fourth quarter.

Stuckwisch said that helped keep the energy level up on his team and gave the starters rest for tonight’s scheduled game at Brownstown Central.

The fourth quarter featured both teams trading possessions until the Cougars secured the 66-42 victory.

Stuckwisch said he was happy the team was able to produce well offensively at home, noting that the team has struggled in that area this season.

He said he thinks the team’s confidence has suffered due to the inability to shoot well at home, but their performance helped build some back up.

“Tonight was a good night to break lose and try to get the monkey off our back and build that confidence again,” Stuckwisch said. “We got a lot of play from a lot of players tonight and everybody did a lot of scoring.”

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Jordan Richart is a correspondent for The (Seymour) Tribune.