Maybe Trinity Lutheran should name a play for Hudson Norton called “Brownstown” because the Cougar sophomore considers that community 10 miles distant to be within his range for jump shots.
At least it seemed that way Saturday night as Norton collected 21 points on an array of shots as varied as a break-away dunk and jumpers from afar as Trinity won its second game of the season 68-48 over visiting Henryville.
Norton is neither timid nor shy when a defense leaves him open on the perimeter, even if that perimeter is 25 feet from the hoop.
“I don’t like to push myself on the distance,” North said after the resounding win that was not as close as the margin. “If they don’t cover me, I’ll let it go.”
It didn’t hurt any Norton’s teammates told him to keep shooting.
Norton, a 6-foot-2 guard, was actually no hotter than some of his teammates. Some years ago when the Boston Celtics won an NBA title, they featured a trio of stars in Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen and Paul Pierce.
For Trinity in this game, it was Norton, forward Jack Marksberry, who had 22 points, and guard Tyler Goecker, who had 17, contributing as a Big Three.
The Cougars in no way resembled a 2-9 team, but much more so one on the rise, coming together and building something in a hurry after gaining back three injured players back now three games ago.
“I feel like we’re really meshing,” said coach Ryan Crase. “The first game we had everyone back was really rough.”
After a 12-2 start and the Hornets (3-7) scratching back to within 23-19 in the second quarter, back-to-back 3-pointers from Norton and Marksberry represented a muscle-flexing statement. Although it felt as if Trinity was in charge, it also felt Henryville was emboldened for a second-half run.
Crase sensed that.
“Coach just fired us up,” Marksberry said of Crase’s half-time talk. “He said the third quarter is huge.”
Norton said Crase reminded everyone, “the game wasn’t finished. He wanted us to keep our foot on the gas.”
The game was not finished by the clock, perhaps, but it was finished soon enough when the Cougars mixed deadly jumpers with a motoring running game for a 25-8 quarter.
Goecker, the point guard, is often Trinity’s leading scorer, but he feels it is his responsibility to distribute the ball and get the other scorers involved. When there was a lull, however, Goecker made his own offense on drives, long shots and mid-range jump shots.
“Whenever we move the ball around, we’re very efficient as a team,” Goecker said. “Our offense got stagnant at times.”
When he realized that, he became the engine.
“It’s got to be somebody,” Goecker said.
By the end of the third quarter, Trinity led 54-29. The lead mushroomed to 32 points before the backups took over for the last few minutes and Henryville made some quick 3-point shots to slice the final spread.
Outside of the threesome combining for 60 points, the other Trinity scorers were Jacob Sabotin with five points and Kade Hill with three.
The third quarter and first chunk of the fourth were something to savor for Trinity, a show worthy of repeat watching in the film room for fun. If the Cougars played like that all of the time, Marksberry said, “You’d be unstoppable.”
That is not a word casually applied to a 2-9 team. But this 2-9 team, at full strength, likes to think the win was a new beginning.
“This felt amazing,” Norton said.
Friday night, 24 hours earlier, Trinity lost to Indianapolis Lutheran 75-66.
Gocker and Marksberry scored 18 points each in that game with Norton adding 13 points and Mitchell Hackman 11. Sabotin scored four points and Sage Broughton two.