Local Sports, Sports, Trinity Christian

Trinity Christian is making a return trip to Charleston wanting to do more than just make an appearance

MORGANTOWN — Of the 32 teams in Charleston for the WVSSAC boys’ basketball state tournament, only five qualified by winning their regional co-final as the road team.

One of those five teams — and the only one in Class AA — Trinity Christian, has accomplished the feat now in back-to-back seasons.

“Last year we called ourselves the ‘Road Warriors,’” TCS coach Codey Horton said. “We love being on the road, we love traveling. I think it’s just really cool to show we don’t care where it is, we’re still going to show up…We just like being on the road, we like being in those environments.”

Home teams obviously have an advantage playing in their own gyms, but another difficulty for the regional road teams is having to get over the disappointment of losing their sectional championship just a few days beforehand. The Warriors lost an exhausting double-overtime section final to Braxton County before turning around a few days later to beat Moorefield on the road and secure their spot in the tournament.

“It definitely wasn’t our plan to go there, but I guess it was God’s plan and it just worked out for us. It wasn’t easy, but it happened,” junior point guard Chayce Adams said. “Basketball is about the next play, the next game, the next possession. You’ve just got to clear your head and move on from whatever the situation is.”

Adams, who reached 1,000 career points in the section final, wasn’t originally meant to be the Warriors’ point guard this season but has embraced the role.

“We didn’t want him to play point guard this year because he’s a true shooting guard, but he’s taken that role and ran with it,” Horton said. “I think he averaged 16 (points) last year, maybe 17. This year he’s averaging 20 points while being a great leader on the court.” 

“Last year I wasn’t really a leader, I was just kind of a catch-and-shoot kind of guy,’ Adams admitted. “This year, being the point guard and being very vocal on the court has helped me.”

Adams’ maturation as a player was on full display at Moorefield as he led the Warriors with 18 points without making a single three-pointer. He instead focused on driving to the rim and finished with seven twos and four free throws.

“He kind of took the lead with Moorefield and just ran with it, getting to the rim and attacking,” Horton said.

Last year, Horton’s first coaching Trinity, the team was just happy to get to Charleston and lost in the first round to top-seeded Williamstown. This year, the seventh-seeded Warriors want to do more than just make an appearance.

“That was our goal going into (last) season, we just wanted to make it,” Horton said. “We didn’t want to lose by 41 to Williamstown. We understand that was part of the foundation. Last year we rebuilt the brand, rebuilt our culture, philosophy and all of our expectations were met last year.”

Trinity will play No. 2 Charleston Catholic in this year’s quarterfinal round on Thursday at 1 p.m.

 “This year we had goals of winning the OVAC — we made it but didn’t win it — we had goals of winning the section — we made it but didn’t win it — but the region championship we obviously won,” Horton explained. “Our next goal is to win a game at states.”

“Last year didn’t turn out the way we wanted it to, but this year, we’re planning on making it a closer game and hopefully coming out of it with the win,” Adams said. “Last year we were just excited to go down to Charleston and play. This year I think we’re actually looking forward to getting a win.”

Trinity (12-10) and Charleston Catholic (21-4) played earlier this season all the way back on Dec. 15, a game the Irish won 67-39. In addition to Charleston Catholic, Trinity played six other games against teams that made the state tournament.

“I feel like our chances are a lot higher now against Catholic versus the beginning of the season,” Horton said. “You truly never know, you’ve just got to practice and prepare as best you can.”