The Dominion Post  

Trinity boys trounce South Harrison in sectional

Created on:   Wed, Feb 28, 2018   12:03 AM

Last modified:   Wed, Feb 28, 2018   12:03 AM

The Dominion Post

MORGANTOWN — At this time last year, the Trinity Christian boys’ basketball team boarded the bus home for the last time following a WVSSAC sectional semifinal loss.

On Feb. 27, according to Warriors senior Jo Zini, they were determined for a different result.

“We really wanted to come out tonight and make a point,” Zini said. “Last year, this was the game that took us out down at Notre Dame. We knew our season was on the line coming into tonight, and we didn’t want it to end.”

Zini and his teammates achieved their goal, as a 24-point second quarter helped lift Trinity to a 62-41 win against South Harrison to advance the Warriors to Friday’s Class A sectional final.

“We were diving for balls on the floor, creating turnovers with our length, and we’re kind of quick. I was able to play nine or 10 guys; we kept pulling guys in and out so we always had fresh people in there,” Trinity head coach John Fowkes said following the game. “It seems like [the Hawks] were getting a little tired there and we were fresh. I think that was the big turning point.”

The rotation allowed the Warriors to smother South Harrison with their signature press defense, which created havoc for some of the top teams in the state this season.

“We just played our style of defense,” Zini said. “We sped them up, and we got them to throw the ball around the gym, and we were able to run the floor how we wanted to.”

South Harrison didn’t go away without a fight, however, challenging the Warriors with a huge third quarter that provided a scare.

“I told them they cannot let their guard down at all in the postseason, because teams do not want to go home,” Fowkes said. “You saw that right there, they let their guard down. We definitely took our foot off the gas.”

The Hawks opened the quarter with a 6-0 run against Trinity and poured in 19 points over the eight minutes while outscoring their opponents by double digits.

“We came out a little bit sluggish on our part, and they came out with a little bit of fire in their hearts, because their season in on the line too,” Zini said. “We just didn’t match that intensity. When we got them slowed down we knew what we had to do, and we got it back going into the fourth quarter.”

Fowkes said he was frustrated to see his team lose focus on such a large stage.

“We talked at halftime, and when you’re up that big, you kind of have to set goals for the second half, and we talked about holding them to 30,” Fowkes said. “Then we come out, and the first two shots they get are 3s. I called a timeout, and I pulled the starters out and put the second string in, and I was kind of upset with them.”

The Warriors will travel to face host Notre Dame in the sectional final. The Irish swept them in the regular season.

“We know what they’re going to do; we know they’re going to clamp down on defense, and we’re going to have to have a couple guards to step up and hit big shots, which we haven’t done yet against them,” Fowkes said. “Hopefully, we have a couple good practices, put a couple good sets in, open up some guys outside and not let them take Jo [Zini] and Dan [Woods] away; make them spread out.”