Trinity Lutheran’s boys basketball team got off to a slow start but ultimately won 54-40 against Southwestern (Shelby) on Tuesday evening at the Bollinger Athletic Complex.
Luckily for the Cougars, the Spartans also experienced trouble establishing an offense to start the game. Cougars coach Aaron Rudzinski said both teams seemed unfamiliar with one another to start the game.
“I think both teams were trying figure each other out to start the game,” he said.
The game was scoreless until Cougars’ junior Dylan Maschino made a 3-pointer with 4:13 remaining in the first quarter.
Rudzinski said that shot broke the ice and helped set the tone.
“Once Dylan hit that three I think it at least showed us what we needed to do and we were able to work from there,” he said. “Once we found a rhythm, we were able to get things going.”
Maschino led the Cougars with five points in the first. Senior Daniel Horton posted four of his team-high 20 points in the first.
The first quarter ended with the Cougars ahead 9-6.
The second quarter started with the Cougars taking more control of the tempo of the game. Horton had six points and senior Keegan Rebber had four points in the second quarter. The Spartans continued to struggle, as they had only one field goal and three made free throws in the second quarter.
Trinity Lutheran led the Spartans 21-11 at the half.
The Cougars started the second half on a strong note by establishing a quick offense. The third quarter opened with a 6-0 run.
Bobby Tabeling scored off a nice put-back from a missed 3-pointer from the corner by Maschino.
Senior Chad Stuckwisch then stole the ball on the inbound play and passed it to Maschino, who fed the ball inside to Horton for an easy layup.
The Cougars showed more patience and made an effort to get the ball inside in the second half and it paid off. Rudzinski said that was what he told the team to do during halftime.
“We really talked about getting our post involved,” he said. “We like to work the ball inside out and feed off what Daniel (Horton) can do, and it seemed like they doubled him up any time he caught the ball in the post, and we just talked to him about being patient and working the ball outside if he had to.”
The Spartans outscored the Cougars for the only time in the fourth quarter by posting 18 points to the Cougars’ 18. It proved to be too late, as the Cougars cruised to a 54-40 win.
Rudzinski said he thought Tabeling also had a good game with his 10 points and nine rebounds.
“Bobby does a great job of rebounding for us and is really coming into it,” he said. “He’s been a great teammate for us because he’s always in position and there for a rebound with his height. You can’t teach height and he’s always there at the rim for every rebound.”