John Parker’s putback with 17 seconds to play gave Owensboro Catholic a 1-point lead, and they were able to just hold on for a 60-56 win over Trinity for the 3rd Region All “A” Classic championship at Hancock County.
The Aces (12-5) played from behind for most of Tuesday night’s game, as the Raiders (10-7) used a hot start to go up by as many as 10 points in the first half.
Strong play from Parker and freshman Brian Griffith in the fourth, though, allowed Catholic to edge past Trinity for good in the final minute.
Griffith had a team-high 15 points, with 11 in the second half, and he finished 6-of-9 at the line. Parker scored 10 of his 14 points after halftime, including his go-ahead bucket followed by a pair of free throws for a 59-56 lead with 7 seconds to play.
OCHS head coach Tim Riley said despite an 87-51 win over the Raiders only a week ago, he was worried how round two would go.
“I did not feel good about the game coming into it,” he said. “Whitesville’s kids played really, really hard. They got all the loose balls. They rebounded. It was an impressive bunch tonight. They played their tails off.”
Trinity got big minutes from several players, but the trio of Joe Brown, Trenton Morris and Ethan Howard led the way, combining for 45 points. Brown hit five 3-pointers, while Howard and Morris scored 12 of the 14 points for the Raiders in the fourth quarter.
The first lead for Catholic came on the final shot of the third quarter with a fast break layup from Zach Cecil. The lead changed eight more times in the final period, and neither team went up by more than three until a free throw from Cecil with 1.2 seconds to go sealed the win.
“We just made enough plays to win the game,” Riley said. “I don’t know how to describe it. John Parker had a couple huge putbacks late where he just went and got it. You can’t coach that. Brian Griffith played big and made some plays for us.”
Riley was quick to credit Trinity and their ability to make it a tough night for the Aces.
“We played tight, they played loose,” he said. “All credit to them. If they would have won the game, they would have deserved it. I’m proud of my kids for fighting through it and finding a way to win the game.”
Parker said as the clock was winding down and the Aces trailing by 1, he knew he had to make a play.
“It was coming down to the end and I knew something had to get done,” he said. “I just went to the rim. My strength is rebounding, so I had to go get it. We just had to stay in it, and I knew at the end of the game we could pull it through.”
Players named to the 3rd Region All “A” Classic All Tournament team were: Griffith, Parker and Peyton Survant for Catholic, along with Morris and Howard for Trinity.
Catholic advances to the All “A” State Tournament, where they’ll face the champion from the 11th Region at 10 a.m. on Jan. 24.
First, though, they’ll make a short trip to take on Apollo at 7 p.m. Friday for a 9th District game.
Trinity will travel to Butler County on Friday for a 12th District game at 7:30 p.m.
O. Catholic 11-15-17-17–60
O. Catholic: Brian Griffith 15, John Parker 14, Ty Vincent 14, Drew Hartz 6, Peyton Survant 5, Ji Webb 4, Zach Cecil 2
Trinity: Joe Brown 16, Trenton Morris 15, Ethan Howard 14, Brendan Wathen 3, Cameron Wright 2, Landon Hall 2, Ben Goetz 2, Will Edge 2