Raiders riding high with four-game win streak

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By Dave Taylor

The Trimble County Raiders were riding a four-game winning streak into the second round of the Silver Grove Coaches vs. Cancer Classic, following a first-round, 75-72 win over the host school Thursday night.

The Raiders fronted 13-10 after a quarter of play and continued to hold a three-point (36-33) advantage at halftime. Trimble spread the margin to 57-44 after three quarters of play, but the Big Trains (yes, that’s the Silver Grove mascot) came chugging back to outscore Trimble 28-18 in the final eight minutes for the eventual three-point margin.

“It was back and forth all the way to the end,” Trimble head coach Johnny Leep III said Friday. “Dusty Wyssbrod came off the bench and scored 30 points. He was the main player of the night. Every time we needed to make a play, he came up big.”

Also scoring for the Raiders were Ethan Merrill with 12 points, Michael Dunaway and Evan Long with 10 each, and Robbie Brooks with 9.

“Evan Long had eight free-throws in the closing seconds, and those were real big for us,” Leep said.

But the coach’s strongest praise of the game went to sophomore guard Wyssbrod. “We were down by five when he came into the game, and from there he led us all the way in every facet. It was like a big coming-out party for him.”

Leep said the crowd was big for the tournament’s opening round on Thursday. “It was a great atmosphere.”

In other first-round games, Hancock County defeated Williamstown 48-37, and Reidland topped Dayton 65-25. Trimble, 6-4 on the young season, was to play Hancock County Friday (after the deadline for this week’s issue of The Trimble Banner). In other second-round action, Williamstown was to play Dayton and Reidland was to face Silver Grove.

Saturday’s matchups featured Trimble against Dayton, Hancock County vs. Silver Grove and Williamstown battling Reidland.

St. Patrick

The Raiders made it a perfect weekend on the road Saturday, Dec. 22, with a 58-48 win at St. Patrick High School in Maysville. Trimble had defeated Deming High School at Mount Olivet, Ky., in neighboring Robertson County the night before, and spent the night in the Maysville area, in preparation for Saturday’s game.

St. Patrick outscored the Raiders 13-11 during the quarters that book-ended the game. But Trimble capitalized on a strong, 36-22, performance in the middle 16 minutes of the game to seal the deal against the Saints.

“It was a hard-fought win in a hostile environment,” Leep said. “It was a real rough, physical game.”

Big freshman Michael Dunaway had a breakout night for the Raiders with a double-double, connecting for 24 points to lead all scorers, and logging 15 rebounds.

Ethan Merrill also scored in double figures, hitting 16 points for the Raiders.

“Ethan had a big game, too,” Leep said. “He’s one guy I can count on every night to produce points. He’s really a solid player.”

St. Patrick (3-8) was led by senior guard Harrison Applegate with 19 points. Senior forward Derrick McCall chipped in 14.

With the win, Trimble improved to 5-4 on the season, equaling the total number of wins in all of the team’s 2011-12 season.

The third quarter was the difference in the game as Trimble outscored their hosts 16-4 en route to a 61-50 win over the Deming Black Devils Friday, Dec. 21.

Sophomore guard Evan Long had a big night for the Raiders, leading all scorers with 16 points. Two other Raiders finished the game in double figures – Robbie Brooks with 13 and Ethan Merrill with 12. Both are seniors.

“Evan Long had a huge second half,” Leep said. “He hit 10 of 12 free-throws in the fourth quarter and that was the difference in the game.”

The Raiders had a big night at the free-throw line outscoring their hosts by 20 charity tosses. Trimble converted 26 of 37 free tosses to Deming’s 6 of 10.

“All of our wins lately have been ‘survival of the fittest’ type of games,” Leep said Friday morning. “We’re really pleased, right now, that we’ve got a lot of wins on the road. We’re really proud of that. The guys are buying into that concept right now, that by playing a lot of games on the road that will prepare us for the All-A Classic and the district tournament, both of which we’ll be playing on the road. We’re pleased, but we’re not satisfied, because we’ve got some big goals out there that want to achieve.”

Next up ...

The Raiders return home tonight (Jan. 2) to play in a varsity double-header with Walton-Verona. The boys’ game is set to begin at 6 p.m. The Lady Raiders will play at 7:30 p.m.