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By LARRY SULLIVAN JR.
Special to The Trimble Banner
The Raiders started the 2008 basetball season by hosting Henry County Dec. 2 in a thriller that came down to concentration at the free throw line. The season opener was preceeded by freshman and JV games, with Trimble winning both.
Showing great enthusiasm on the hardwood, the Raiders started the first quarter with a 6-2 run. With well executed plays, the team ended the first period leading 13-6.
But coming into the second, the players appeared much slower and relaxed, sending them head-on into a brick wall. After some minor foul trouble, the team played like they couldn’t wait for the halftime buzzer to sound. Going into the half, Trimble was down 26-21.
In comparision, last year when the teams met on TCHS Senior Night, Trimble trailed by 15 at half time. After most of the crowd left because the game was getting so ugly, the Raiders sparked a huge comeback.
Coming into the third quarter, the hometown boys looked more comfortable on the floor, but still weren’t the same team fans watched in the opening minutes of the game. The team continued to have trouble containing Wildcat guard Steven Tillett, who scored nine of his game high 20 points in the third. At the end of the quarter, the Raiders had barely outscored Henry, putting just 15 points on the board compared to Henry’s 14. Raiders Aaron Law, Zach Adair and Christian Courtney provided good shooting in the period, but the team still trailed 40-36.
The teams continued to trade baskets and Trimble had opportunities to grab control of the game, but kept finding themselves at the free throw line with shots that wouldn’t fall. Although the Raiders held Henry to four field goals in the fourth, they went 6 for 10 at the free throw line in that quarter, keeping them in a critical situation.
Late in the fourth quarter Law dropped a couple of buckets to keep the Raiders alive. And with little less than a minute on the clock Larry Sullivan received a pass and sank a deep three-pointer to pull the Raiders within one point. The Henry County squad quickly called a time out.
With less than 30 seconds to go Sullivan stole an inbound pass, but the Raiders failed to convert. The team then fouled in desperation and went from being down one to trailing by two. Trimble set up a play that could have tied up the game and sent the teams into overtime, but unfortunately the Raiders did not capitalize on the opportunity and lost 54-52.
With senior Cory Turner out following an altercation in a scrimmage a week earlier, sophomore guard Zach Adair picked up the slack and had a good night in his first start of his high school career. But it was Aaron Law and Larry Sullivan Jr. leading Trimble in scoring with 16 points wach.
The Raiders will face the Wildcats again in the first round of the annual All-A Classic held at Carroll County High School in January.