Trinity in state semis with 2OT victory over Notre Dame

CHARLESTON — In the fourth meeting between the two teams this season, No. 5 seed Trinity finally broke through and eliminated defending state champion Notre Dame, 64-52, in double overtime March 15, during the Class A boys’ basketball state quarterfinals.

“We know what each other does so well,” Trinity coach John Fowkes said. “I was 0-6 against (Notre Dame coach) Jarrod West until tonight, but I’ll take this one over those six — I’m telling you that right now.”

Trinity’s Caleb Jenkins hit a 3-pointer with 14 seconds left in the first overtime to tie the game at 50 and send it into a second overtime, keeping the Warriors (19-7) alive.

“He’s been hurt for about a month and a half and he’s finally back for us — he’s fresh,” Fowkes said. “The kid has a lot of guts and a lot of basketball savvy.

“He has a little swagger with him and he’s not afraid to take any shot,” he continued. “I knew if any kid was going to hit that shot, it was going to be Caleb, and that’s what we drew up. We’ve been running that play in practice and it worked.”

Notre Dame (18-7) won all three previous meetings between the two teams coming into Thursday; the most recent two were battles that came down to the end as well.

Trinity led, 24-23, at the half and the two teams went into the fourth quarter tied at 31.

Both teams had runs in the fourth quarter, with Trinity opening up with a 7-0 spurt to take a 38-31 lead. The Irish answered with a 9-0 run, forcing five turnovers in that span, to go in front, 40-38.

A bucket from Trinity senior Joe Zini tied the game at 42 with just 24 seconds to go in regulation, ultimately sending the contest to overtime.

Gabe Zummo hit an early 3 in the first extra session that gave the Irish a 48-45 advantage with 3:06 to go, before Jenkins eventually hit the tying 3 at 50-50.

Trinity scored the first six points of the second overtime to take control —- all of those came from the free throw line. In fact, Trinity went 12 of 14 from the line in the second overtime to clinch the win.

“We practice foul shots a lot and it’s usually after we run some sprints and get on the foul line,” Fowkes said. “We condition ourselves to make foul shots when we’re tired.”

Zini finished with 15 points to lead Trinity in the win, while Briston Bennett scored 13 points, Jenkins totaled 12 and Joel Robertson added 10.

Notre Dame was led by Zummo, who scored 22 points, but went 6-of-23 from the floor. The Irish were without center Todd Griffith late in the game as he went out with a knee injury during overtime.

“In the second half, we did a heck of a job on that kid,” Fowkes said. “The numbers that stand out are 6-of-23 and 3-of-12 from 3. If you do that to that kid, you have a good chance of winning the ball game.”

The Warriors move on to face No. 1 Wheeling Central at 7:15 p.m. today. The Maroon Knights beat Trinity in overtime on Jan. 31.

“I thought we should have won that game,” Fowkes said. “But that happens in basketball when you’re under pressure and I think we learned from that game. We just believe, and that defines our ball team.”

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