Sports, Trinity Christian

Warriors top Blue Dons in 48-47 thriller

MORGANTOWN — It’s pretty difficult to beat a good basketball team that you don’t really know anything about, nor do you often come out on top if you score a not-so-grand total of 2 points in a quarter. 

Wednesday, the Trinity boys hosted a talented, athletic Madonna team without the benefit of a single minute of game footage to scout, and they made just a pair of free throws in the second quarter 

However, while both those facts are certainly true, it’s also true that good teams often find a way to win, and the Warriors did just that, leaning on guard Chayce Adams and forward Carter Hartsock plus strong team defense to overcome an eight-point second-half deficit to beat the Blue Dons in a thriller, 48-47. 

Madonna (1-1) looked to push the tempo all over the court all game long, and their frenetic pace of play challenged Trinity (2-0), especially in the first half. Trailing early, a 6-0 late run punctuated by Levi Teets’ buzzer-beating banked three-ball gave the Warriors a 17-14 lead after the first quarter. But in the second, while the home team could find the bottom of the basket at all, Madonna’s shooting guard Anthony Mascio got hot, scoring 10 of his team’s 12 points, powering the Blue Dons to a 26-19 advantage at the break. 

“It was a real back-and-forth battle,” Hartsock said. “It can be frustrating to work the ball around for 30 seconds in your half-court offense, then have the other team push it hard and hit a shot in five seconds. But we figured it out.”

After Mascio’s third and final triple put Madonna up 31-23 early in the third, Adams caught fire from the right corner, draining three jumpers, two from beyond the arc, to tie the score at 31-31. From that point, Madonna led by one or three points through the rest of the third quarter and the first six minutes of the final frame, until Hartsock’s driving lay-up at the 2:01 mark gave the Warriors their first lead since the end of the first, 44-43. An unchecked stick-back lay-in put the Dons up by one, 47-46 with 47 seconds left, and a Trinity turnover put Madonna in the driver’s seat. Trinity’s defense nearly produced a turnover, but instead put the Dons on the line for a one-and-one at 0:32. They missed, and Hartsock reprised his aggressive drive to the hole to put the Warriors back up by one with 14 ticks on the clock.  

“When Coach Horton called my number for an iso at the top of the key,” Hartsock said, “I felt confident that I could take my man and get a good shot or get fouled, or dish if they cheated over. I know I can post up or face the basket, so I felt comfortable, and I was happy both shots went down.”    

And when they needed it most, Trinity’s overplaying denial defense kept the Dons from getting a quality shot off, preserving the tight 48-47 victory. 

Mascio (who was shut out after his third quarter three) and Hartsock both scored 17, Adams hit for 16, and Luca Muzzi finished with 12. 

After the game, Trinity coach Codey Horton admitted that it took a while before his team figured out the winning formula on both ends of the court. 

“We knew Mascio was their best player,” he said, “but we didn’t have any intel to know how and where he wanted the ball. Once we knew how their offense moved through him, we tried to deny him touches, and it worked pretty well. And offensively, after Chayce gave us that big boost to tie it up, we wanted to go big as much as possible, so Carter and Ben (Lohmann) started to attack the rim. We executed when we needed to.” 

In the two-quarter JV game, Madonna, led by Cole Canterbury’s game-high 12 points, defeated Trinity 24-20. Marcos Knista paced the Warriors with 8 points. 

Both Trinity varsity teams will host Notre Dame Friday night, with the girls’ game scheduled for 5:45 p.m. and the boys to follow at 7:30 p.m. 


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