Henry spoils Raiders’ Senior Night

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By Dave Taylor

The Trimble County Raiders closed out the home portion of the 2011-12 basketball regular season by honoring the team’s seven seniors on Valentine’s Day. One of the larger crowds to attend a home contest this season—including parents, family members, friends and fellow students—who were on hand to honor the seniors watched as the Raiders fought valiantly but unsuccessfully to erase a sizable deficit en route to a 65-51 loss at the hands of the visiting Henry County Wildcats.

“That’s been our bugaboo all year,” Trimble Coach John Leep III said following the game. “We’ve kind of dug ourselves some holes and we come roaring back and you just can’t do that against quality opponents. They’re a contender to win their district and also to compete in the region. We played right with them there but when you get a 18 point deficit in the second half it’s hard to erase it.”

Henry led 16-10 after a quarter of play and increased their margin to 13, 33-20 at halftime. Trimble lagged behind at 42-26 with about three minutes remaining in the third period and trailed 49-34 at quarter’s end.

The Raiders came alive in the early minutes of the fourth quarter. Led by two treys and a two-point basket at the hands of Austin Rexroat and baskets from Dylan Staples and Craig Ward—all seniors—the Raiders were within five points, 52-47, with 4:40 remaining to play. That’s as close as Trimble would get, thanks to a superlative free throw shooting effort by the Wildcats down the final stretch.

“On Senior Night I thought it was a great effort out of our seniors and they got to go the whole way,” Leep said. “They did get tired but I never saw them quit fighting for loose balls on the floor. We were down there battling. We got the steals there when we had to have them but it seemed like every time we were going to get it under five we just didn’t make that shot. That’s basketball. Sometimes you make it and sometimes you don’t.”

Rexroat had 17 points to lead the Raider offensive effort. Classmates Skiler Alexander added 12, Michael Gonterman eight, Daniel Haney seven, Ward five and Staples two. Although senior Stuart Barnes didn’t score, his defensive effort and rebounding presence were strong contributions to the Raider attack.

“I’m super proud of those seven seniors they represented Trimble County really well tonight,” Leep said. “These seniors are good players on the court but they are extremely good people off the court. You don’t find that all the time. They make me a better person for being able to be around them each day. I think that says the most about them. They’ve done a good job, not necessarily in the case of wins and losses but in paving the way for the future of the program, how to show up and work hard at practice every day when things aren’t going great, showing how to be on time how to make sure the junior or the sophomore who didn’t have a ride to practice gets there. They’ve done all the little things that you can ask out of seniors in a program. A coach once told me that freshmen are allowed to make mistakes, sophomores are allowed to make a few mistakes, juniors no mistakes and seniors fix mistakes; and that’s exactly what these guys have done this year.”

Trimble was back in action at North Bullitt on Friday and closed out the regular season with a 79-67 loss. Trimble, 5-19, hosted South Oldham in a first round 29th District Tournament game last night. The game was not concluded in time for results to be published in today’s newspaper.

The Trimble Lady Raiders host Oldham County in first round tournament action tonight at 6 p.m.