The Dominion Post  

Notre Dame overwhelms visiting Trinity, 77-65

Created on:   Sat, Jan 6, 2018   12:13 AM

Last modified:   Sat, Jan 6, 2018   12:13 AM

The Dominion Post

CLARKSBURG — For Trinity boys’ basketball head coach John Fowkes, defending Class A state champion Notre Dame will remain the best team in the state until someone takes the crown.

He told his team as much as they traveled to face the Fighting Irish on Jan. 5, and he was proved right as Notre Dame pummeled the Warriors, 77-65.

“We came in here with a game plan and for the most part we executed well,” said junior Briston Bennett, who paced the Warriors with 15 points.

“But I think we may have overlooked them as a team. It’s just something we can learn from and get better from definitely.”

The Warriors jumped out to a 7-2 lead but couldn’t maintain momentum as Notre Dame battled back fiercely. An eight-point first-quarter effort from Notre Dame’s Joel Mauer gave the Fighting Irish a 17-12 advantage entering the second quarter.

Mauer continued his dominance in the second quarter, registering a 16-point first half as the Fighting Irish continued to stay in front, leading, 34-28, at the break.

The Irish exploded in the second half, as sharpshooter Gabe Zummo poured in 24 points in the final 16 minutes, nailing five treys. Senior Jacob Martin attempted to lead a comeback for Trinity, commanding both ends of the floor as the Warriors sliced their deficit to three.

A pair of 3-point goals from Notre Dame extended the lead out of reach, though, and from there the Irish pulled away in the final quarter, outscoring Trinity, 22-20, to seal the game.

“We saw an opportunity, and we took it. Then we got comfortable and let off the gas, and that was the problem,” Martin said. “But that’s the type of team we can be all the time, and I fully believe in that.”

The Warriors struggled from 3-point range and on the boards throughout the match-up, which played a part in the loss.

“We settle for 3-pointers as a team, and our stats show we shoot collectively about 26 or 27 percent from 3-point land,” Fowkes said. “That’s something we’ve talked about in practice and after tonight we’re gonna talk about it again.”

“We’ve been in the weight room, but when rebounding we stand around and watch. We try to out jump people and don’t box out.”

Fowkes noted the performances of Bennett and Martin as bright spots in the contest, and he hopes to build off their positive play.

“They’re coach pleasers. They do what you ask them to do, and they don’t try to go out of their ability range,” he said. “We have other guys who want to come down and force things, and we have to fix that. It’s a good thing to have kids on the bench that want to do the right things, because it forces people to make a decision.”

The Warriors (6-2) play at 7:30 p.m. Jan. 12, at Clay-Battelle.