Local Sports, Sports, Trinity Christian

Trinity Christian outlasts Keyser in overtime to snap losing skid

MORGANTOWN — What’s the only thing worse than heading into the postseason on a three-game winless skid?

A four-game winless skid.

Thursday night at home against Keyser — in the midst of their own four-game slide — the Trinity Christian boys basketball team was desperate to find the winning formula to close out their regular season schedule. And it took four quarters, one overtime period, and about two feet of space between the ball and the rim for the Warriors to outlast the Golden Tornados in a thriller, 65-62.

Evenly matched through most of the first quarter, a pair of late threes from Trinity guard Parker Hopkins gave the Warriors (11-9) a 21-15 lead. However, the Warriors got cold — both from beyond the arc and at the rim — and Keyser (6-16) took advantage of turnovers and transition offense to pull within a point midway through the quarter. However, despite several chances, the Golden Tornados never got over the hump, so Trinity carried a slim 31-30 advantage into the break.

After an early bucket, Trinity once again had trouble in their half-court offense against Keyser’s physical man defense, and the Golden Tornados — especially guard Jace Courrier — started hitting from deep. Keyser zoomed out with 14 straight points to take a stunning eight-point lead at 41-33 before Carter Hartsock’s straightaway triple and a Chayce Adams free throw cut the advantage in half heading into the fourth, 44-40.

After Courrier and Trinity’s Austin Porta traded threes, the Warriors started to turn the Tornados over and finally regained the lead midway through the quarter on an Adams three, 50-49. TCS stretched it to 55-49 with four minutes left, but Keyser fought back with six straight points to tie it up with two minutes left. Trading fouls and turnovers, neither team could score, Courrier’s desperation line-drive three at the buzzer hit the back rim, sending the game into an extra frame.

A Hartsock lay-in gave TCS the early lead, then after a Keyser free throw closed the gap to a single point, Porta drilled a deep ball with 90 seconds left to pad the TCS lead to four, 60-56. After that, the game became a foul-shooting contest, and the Warriors almost lost it. They went 2 for 6, while Keyser made 3 of 4 to pull within a single possession at 62-59 with 12 seconds left. Finally, Hartsock calmly stroked a pair from the line to bump the lead to five with 10.6 on the clock.

But that wasn’t quite the end of the drama, as an improbable conventional three-point play from Chase Davis with 5.7 seconds left made it 64-62, and when Adams made just one from the line, Keyser had one last shot with one second left.  Patrick Liller launched from twenty feet behind the center line, and his shot was tracking, but fell just short, leaving the Warriors with a tense, exciting victory.

“We never make it easy, do we?” smiled exhausted Trinity coach Codey Horton. “There were lots of turnovers, and missed free throws, and fouls down the stretch, and although we kept making those mistakes, we also fought our way through and found a way. And for that, I’m real proud of them. I thought we rebounded very well – especially Ben Lohmann – which has been a problem for us all year. Austin Porta came off the bench and hit some big shots late and in overtime. You have to give Keyser a lot of credit – they played hard and hit their shots – and it took everything we had and then some to come out on top.

“And heading into Sectionals,” he concluded with a sweaty grin, “we sure needed this one.”

In the JV contest, paced by Braylon McGreevy” 14 points, Keyser defeated Trinity 45-18. Nathan Lewis led the Warriors with 12 points.

The top-seeded Warriors host the Region II Section 2 championship game next Friday at 7 p.m.


Trinity Christian 65, Keyser 62, OT
Keyser                       15   15    14   11    7   –  62
Trinity Christian      21   10      9    15   10  –  65
KEYSER (6-16) — Jack Stanislawczyk  3 0-0 7; Patrick Liller 3 2-2 8; Jace Courrier 5 3-4 18; Kameron Samples 1 0-0 2; Chase Davis 4 5-7 14; Evan Ack 1 0-0 2; Drew Matlick 3 0-0 7; Grayson Lambka 1 2-2 4.  Totals 21 12-15 62.
TRINITY CHRISTIAN (11-9) — Ben Lohmann 2 1-2 5; Austin Porta 3 0-0 9; Chayce Adams 7 6-12 23; Carter Hartsock 5 3-3 14; Marcos Kniska 3 0-2 8; Parker Hopkins 2 0-0 6. Totals 22 10-19 65.
Three-pointers – KHS 8 (Matlick, Davis, Stanislawczyk, Courrier 5), TC 11 (Hopkins 2, M. Kniska 2, Adams 3, Hartsock 1, Porta 3)
Fouled Out – TC Porta