Trinity boys in positive place ahead of sectional play

The Trinity Lutheran boys basketball team got the short end of the stick compared to the other Jackson County teams in terms of their sectional draw.

Everyone else will wait until Friday to begin the postseason, but the Cougars will kick off sectional play at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday against Edinburgh inside the Lancers’ gym.

Fortunately, Trinity (9-14) will have had more than a week off since closing out its regular season. They last played on Feb. 21 at Rising Sun and came away with a 55-47 victory.

“We should be well-rested, and we’ve had a chance to improve our imagination and our idea for success, so that’s been a real hopeful step of our group,” first-year head coach Brad Dickey said. “We have a positive idea.”

Scoring the win last Monday also allowed Trinity to take some momentum into this week of preparation.

One thing Dickey has noticed about his team is how high their spirits are after a grind of a regular season schedule.

“It hopefully has helped us. We’re a pretty positive group right now,” Dickey said. “We’ve established things we can do offensively and defensively. We’re trying to perfect a few of those assets and trying to avoid some mistakes we make so we can have a good chance on Tuesday.”

Trinity played Edinburgh not too long ago on Feb. 15 at Bollinger Athletic Complex. Edinburgh is 19-3 this season and ranked No. 8 in the state for Class A.

The Lancers defeated the Cougars 54-44 in that game earlier this season, but Trinity gave them some fits.

A basket from Jacob Conrad cut the lead to just two, 44-42, with 2:50 remaining in the game. But then the Cougars went scoreless on three-straight possessions and Edinburgh went on a 6-0 run to get a comfortable lead in the final minute.

Dickey feels like they’ll be able to take some confidence from that earlier meeting.

“We’ll be able to take a little bit. We were able to keep up with them a little bit,” he said. “They’re a very big, strong, talented team, but we didn’t feel outmatched in size and strength, so if we can make some improvements, we’ll feel like we can have a good game.”

In addition to Edinburgh’s size, the Lancers also have really good ball handlers. The Lancers are led in scoring by point guard Caleb Dewey, who is averaging 22.4 points per game. He scored 21 on Trinity this year.

“They ball handle very well. Great ball skills at a lot of positions,” Dickey said. “We need to have good possessions and avoid turnovers, and we need to steal rebounds from them.”

Mitchell Hackman leads Trinity in scoring with 14.8 points per game, followed by Conrad at 8.8, and Sage Broughton is averaging 8.4.

Jacob Sabotin, Kade Hill, Caleb Williams, Levi Pottschmidt and Luke Coomler also make contributions for the Cougars’ squad. Pottschmidt and Coomler both started to gain some more run as the season has gone on.

“We’ve all grown together,” Dickey said. “We have the six seniors that have been our leaders all the way through. Part of getting contributions is those six guys allowing some of those younger kids to make shots for us or handle the ball for us. Our whole team has developed nicely.”

It’s going to take contributions from everyone Tuesday night to advance in the sectional with a victory. Trinity’s game with Edinburgh will follow a game between Shawe Memorial and West Washington at 6 p.m.

Tickets will be sold at the gate with all-session packages available for $10 and single-session tickets available for $6.

“It takes a team effort,” Dickey said. “They (younger players) had the courage to step up and try a few things, and it took courage for the older kids to allow it. It’s definitely a team thing, and that’s one of the pieces that makes Trinity a fun place to be.”