Cougars fall to Edinburgh in sectionals


For The Tribune


Trinity Lutheran’s quest for a third sectional championship in eight years fell short Saturday night.

The Cougars lost in the championship game of the Class A Edinburgh Sectional, 71-59, despite placing three players in double-figures.

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Senior swingman Jacob Rowe played his final game in a Trinity Lutheran uniform, making it a good one with a game-high 22 points. The freshman guard tandem of Jack Marksberry and Tyler Goecker added 13 and 12 points, respectively.

The Cougars finish with a record of 9-17.

“Our kids never gave up. They had a lot of poise and confidence during the three games they played in the sectional,” Cougars coach Brian Stuckwisch said. “We played some 2A and 3A teams during the regular season, and I thought that helped us.

“But we really got outplayed in the second quarter (against Edinburgh). We could have done some things different. We didn’t get the ball movement and were a little stagnant.”

Trinity Lutheran led on three occasions in the opening quarter and settled in with a 14-12 advantage. But a 10-0 scoring run to open the second quarter propelled Edinburgh to a 31-20 halftime lead.

Senior forward Parker Bryant’s layup started it, followed by his two free throws. The Lancers widened the gap on triples from guard Coltan Henderson and Justin Fosskuhl before Trinity finally stopped the run with a free throw by Goecker.

Late in the third period, the Lancers, holding on to a 42-35 lead, came through what could have been the key sequence in the game with two baskets scored in the final 4.9 seconds.

It started with a layup by junior point guard Bryce Burton, followed by Henderson’s steal of the ensuing inbounds pass by the Cougars. Henderson hit a short jumper off glass at the buzzer and suddenly it was an 11-point cushion.

Edinburgh’s fourth-quarter lead grew as large as 18 points, but a mini-run by the Cougars cut it to 10 with 1:26 remaining. Trinity Lutheran got as close as nine points twice in the final minute, but couldn’t trim the margin any more.

Center Christian Cox’s double-double of 18 points and 13 rebounds led the way for Edinburgh, but the senior had plenty of help. Henderson drained three 3-pointers on his way to 13 points, followed by Fosskuhl (12), Burton (11) and Bryant (10).

Next for Edinburgh is a meeting with Christian Academy in the morning semifinal of the Loogootee Regional on Saturday. The second game features sixth-ranked Barr-Reeve against Springs Valley with the winning teams returning for the 8 p.m. final.

It’s the type of scenario first-year coach Keith Witty hoped would be in store for the Lancers.

“What I like most is how this team has grown together,” Witty said. “We have guys who weren’t with them last year, but if one guy’s not having a good night, he doesn’t get down and finds the other guy who is having a good night. They work well together.”

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