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Prep boys basketball: Playoff welcome

Trinity wins its first-ever boys hoops playoff game

Posted: February 19, 2011 1:55 a.m.
Updated: February 19, 2011 1:55 a.m.

Trinity players James Brooks, second from left, and Patch Kulp, center, vie for a rebound against Academy of Careers and Exploration defenders Reid Davis, left and Steven Tripp (31) Friday night at The Master’s College.

Trinity Classical Academy took advantage of its size advantage Friday night at The Master's College to defeat the Academy of Careers and Exploration 56-45 in the first round of the CIF-Southern Section Division VIA playoffs.

The game was the Knights' first boys basketball playoff game in school history.

"I've been coaching a lot of these kids since they were in grade school," said Trinity head coach John Brooks. "It's neat to see as they're becoming young men how hard they compete. It's a blessing."

Facing an Eagles team without its starting point guard, Josh Calhoun, or anyone big enough to match up with Trinity center James Brooks, the Knights repeatedly passed the ball into the middle of the Eagles' box-and-one defense.

The strategy worked, as James Brooks led the Knights with 23 points, 15 rebounds and five blocks.

"Most parents don't leave a 6-6 kid at this (division). It's an anomaly, so he attracts attention," John Brooks said. "Generally we don't (rely on James so heavily), but tonight we did because the people around him were drastically smaller than him."

Unfortunately for the Eagles, the Knights' size advantage didn't end with James Brooks.

Trinity's Shane Larsen added eight rebounds, continually attacking the offensive boards. Dakota Prochnow added seven rebounds and Spencer Klehn had six rebounds and eight points.

The Eagles (7-12) did their best to shoot their way to a victory, rarely driving to the basket.

ACE shooting guard Steven Tripp led the Eagles with 18 points and nine rebounds, including four 3-point baskets.

Guard Luis Davila added 12 points.

Led by Tripp and Davila, the Eagles cut what was a 12-point deficit midway through the second quarter to 32-27 at halftime.

"To do what we do offensively, it was going to take a big night for us to win," said ACE head coach Larry Kast, "We had to knock down some shots."

The Eagles were able to keep the game close, trailing by five points for much of the game before Trinity pulled away late in the fourth quarter.

"We did a really good job of not letting them drive," James Brooks said. "We really wanted to spread them out and have me inside to clean up the messes."

Trinity (13-9) now owns another program first - its first ever playoff victory.

The Knights will travel to face either Redlands or Baker Valley on Tuesday at 7 p.m.



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