The Dominion Post  

Boys’ basketball: Team effort leads Warriors to section win

Created on:   Sat, Feb 24, 2018   11:14 PM

Last modified:   Sat, Feb 24, 2018   11:14 PM

The Dominion Post

MORGANTOWN — Trinity Christian junior Joel Robertson doesn’t like to sugarcoat things. If you ask him about the relationship amongst his teammates, he’s honest and to the point.

“We love each other, we’re family,” Robertson said. “We think of ourselves as a brotherhood.”

It’s a dynamic that not every team will develop, and it helped lift Trinity over visiting Gilmer County, 96-45, on Feb. 24, in the Class A sectional quarterfinals. The Warriors presented a clinic on depth and teamwork, as 13 players saw the hardwood, with 11 tallying points.

“We really played a team effort. We buckled down and played the normal defense we know how to play, and we got a lot of steals,” Robertson said. “That’s why I got mine; it wasn’t just me. We were rotating well, getting back on defense, we just did everything spot on.”

It seems to be the culmination of sorts; a team with loads of talent and a unique bond hitting their stride at the most important time of the season.

“We told the kids at this point in the year we shouldn’t have to coach effort, and tonight you saw them, one through thirteen, every kid came off that bench flying up and down the floor, making threes, making hard cuts, and guarding their man intensely,” said Trinity head coach John Fowkes. “It was the best four quarters we might have played all year.”

The Warriors demolished the Titans in every facet of the game, strangling their opponents with full-court pressure from the opening whistle while demonstrating exceptional ball movement and transition offense.

“They played for each other. They shared the ball, they talked on defense, and they were swarming like angry yellow jackets in that press,” Fowkes said. “At times, Gilmer couldn’t get up the court. That’s what we asked these guys to do, and they responded.”

The aggressive style of play is made possible by the depth that the Warriors bring off the bench, as well as a willingness to play with passion from buzzer-to-buzzer and share minutes.

It’s a philosophy that Fowkes preaches day in and day out, and has worked to instill in his athletes since day one of the season.

“What we talked about in the locker room, I told them I want them to play so hard, I have to scrape them off the floor and put someone else in,” Fowkes said. “That’s how hard we want them to play. Tonight we did that, and you saw what the result was.”

Fowkes also noted the advantages that such depth and talent present for his squad.

“The depth at this little school is crazy. We feel like we have Class AAA depth. A lot of Class A schools, you look and they go five or six deep,” Fowkes said. “Gilmer played seven guys tonight, well, we played thirteen. And with the rotation, I had nine or ten guys in to begin with.

“It’s a good problem to have; it makes for better practices as well. We know our kids are being challenged every day.”

And, more importantly to Fowkes, it demonstrates the ability of his team to rise up in the face of adversity, and the desire to sacrifice personal glory for team success; in his mind, to key aspects to successful teams.

“It’s not a bunch of self-absorbed individuals. It’s a great group of kids that love each other and want to win,” he said.

The Warriors will advance to the Class A Sectional Semifinals, where they will host the winner of Doddridge County and South Harrison. The semifinal matchup is scheduled for a 7:00 p.m. tip-off Tuesday evening.

“It’s just on to the next one. We’re focused on what we have to do to get out of the sectionals,” Fowkes said. “That’s our goal right now, just to take it one game at a time.”


BLACKSVILLE — The Cee-Bees were eliminated from postseason play. No further details were made available and head coach Josh Kisner could not be reached.