Cougars ‘stay cool’ and unbeaten


For the Tribune

Daniel Horton led Trinity Lutheran’s boys team with 20 points to keep the Cougars undefeated at 5-0 with a 73-60 win against West Washington.

Horton knocked down seven field goals, was 6-for-7 from the free throw line and collected six rebounds to lead the way.

Both teams came out fighting as the Senators matched the Cougars point-for-point early.

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Jacob Christopher hit a 3-pointer at the 4:05 mark to give the Cougars the 9-6 lead, but the Senators made it 9-8.

Clayton Pottschmidt and Horton had back-to-back buckets to make it 13-8. Horton made it 15-10, but the Senators had a 5-0 run to tie the game at 15-all. Toby VanLiew, the 6-foot-7 senior forward, hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer to give the Cougars the 18-15 lead.

“That was a very intense game,” Trinity coach Aaron Rudzinski said. “We were able to stay cool, for the most part, on the court. I asked the boys to stay cool as they had all kinds of action going on all around them, all four corners were full and the intensity was picking up, so I wanted them to take care of the basketball.”

The Cougars continued to lead in the second quarter and extended their lead to 35-27 after a VanLiew free throw. West Washington added two more points to lead 35-29 at halftime. Christopher had a 3-pointer and Horton scored to make it 40-30.

The Senators scored the next seven points to cut the lead to 40-37, but Horton snapped their scoring run with an and-one play with 1:33 left in the third quarter. VanLiew hit another 3-pointer with nine seconds left to make it 46-39 with one quarter left.

“We were able to switch up our defense a little bit and kind of confused them and took them out of their game a little bit by going to the matchup zone,” Rudzinski said. “They seemed to struggle to see how they were going to get shots out of that.

Both teams found their scoring rhythm in the fourth quarter as they combined to score 48 points, but the Cougars outscored the Senators 27-21. Trinity’s biggest lead of the quarter was 14, while its smallest lead was five.

The Cougars hit 13 of 16 from the charity stripe in the fourth quarter and the Senators were 5 of 5.

The Cougars (5-0) had four players in double figures. Besides Horton, Christopher had 17, VanLiew scored 16 and Keegan Rebber scored 13.

West Washington (1-4) was led by Lane Trueblood, who had 18 points. Bailey Sullivan scored 11 and Michael Sizemore scored 10.

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