Cougars complete season-opener with victory

The Trinity Lutheran boys basketball team wanted to make sure Brad Dickey had a win in his first game as their coach Tuesday night in the Bollinger Athletic Complex.

The Cougars did exactly that by taking the lead late in the first quarter and leading the rest of the way for a 79-71 win over South Decatur.

Going into the game Dickey was concerned about how well his team was prepared.

“I don’t know if we’re perfectly ready but we’re noticeably better than we were in our scrimmage,” he said. “We’re counting on the guys to communicate better and execute a couple positive plays.”

Trinity came out strong offensively by not committing any turnovers in the opening period while shooting 10-for-17 from the field to take a 21-18 lead.

Mitchell Hackman and Sage Broughton had the hot hands in the opening eight minutes with Hackman shooting 4-for-5 for 11 points and Broughton also shot 4-for-5 for 10 points.

Hackman stayed hot in the first two minutes of the second period as his 3-pointer put Trinity up 30-21 two minutes into the quarter.

Hackman had 8 and Broughton 6 points in the period to spark Trinity to a 40-28 lead at the half. Trinity shot 18-for-32 and Decatur was 11-for-24 shooting in the first half.

Kade Hill and Hackman scored baskets in the first 90 seconds of the third period, and Trinity built its lead to 58-38 on a layup by Hackman with one minute left in the quarter.

The visitors cut the difference to 58-44 at the end of the third period before Trinity increased its lead to 69-58 with three minutes remaining.

Decatur closed the difference to 73-67 with 1:30 remaining before Hackman scored a runner in the lane.

Hackman topped Trinity with 34 points and Broughton added 25.

Hunter Johnson, a 6-foot-2 guard topped Decatur with 42 points, and was one of the shooters Dickey was concerned with.

“They’re really good,” Dickey said of the visitors. “They’ve got great shooters and a couple really nice ball handlers. So we’re trying to pay real close attention to their best players without getting burnt by their other role players.

“They’re inside-out. Those guys can drive it and shoot it. They’ve got some really good returning guys.”

Jacob Scruggs added 21 for Decatur.

Trinity finished with 35-for-60 shooting from the floor and had 15 turnovers. Decatur ended up with 13 turnovers and shot 27-for-54.

Dickey, beginning his 17th year as a boys’ varsity basketball coach said, “Our turnovers grade the other night was ridiculously high. We’re counting on that to get a little better.”

Trinity held a 31-27 advantage in rebounds. Jacob Conrad was high for Trinity with 7 and Jacob Sabotin had 6. Johnson had 10 for Decatur.

Trinity’s next game will be Dec. 3 at home against Columbus East.