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The Trimble County Raiders fell to defeat in a pair of home contests of high school basketball last week. The Raiders “wilted under the pressure” against an extremely scrappy Gallatin County Wildcats team on Tuesday, according to Trimble Coach John Leep III, falling by a 74-37 score. Trimble returned to action Thursday against Whitefield Academy, a game Leep predicted beforehand would be “a tough challenge.” Whitefield, like Gallatin, took an early advantage and never looked back en route to a 64-50 win.
In Tuesday’s outing, Gallatin County implemented an aggressive press early, intercepted pass after pass and opened a 16-8 advantage after a quarter of play. Trimble pulled to within five, at 20-15, with 3:46 remaining in the first half before the Wildcats stretched their advantage to 12, 31-19 at the halftime break.
Trimble suffered through a devastating third quarter as the Wildcats scored a smothering 31 points to the Raiders’ six to take a 62-25 advantage into the final eight-minute segment of the game.
“They turned up the heat. That’s their style,” Leep said of Gallatin County. “We basically wilted under the pressure. We went over it every day since our last game. It doesn’t do any good until you get out there and experience it. We did not handle it well. It was very disappointing.”
None of Trimble’s starters saw action in the final quarter as Leep put the game into the hands of the junior varsity and freshmen team members. Both teams had defeated their respective Gallatin opponents earlier in the night. The younger Raiders held their own with Gallatin down the stretch, each team scoring 12 points as both teams substituted freely in the fourth quarter of play.
“Our younger guys had a tremendous night in the freshmen game, in the JV game and they continued to play well when it came in the varsity,” Leep said. “That’s a good sign for our future. The kids are developing and starting in the right direction. That varsity game left a lot to be desired. I felt like our program took a step back tonight in that sense.”
None of the Raiders reached double figures in Trimble’s offensive effort. Skiler Alexander scored nine points to lead the Raiders, Craig Ward and Ethan Merrill each added five.
Alexander had a big night against Whitefield Academy on Thursday scoring 20 points. Ward connected for10 points while Austin Rexroat and Dylan Staples each contributed eight.
“Whitefield Academy is another good team,” Leep said. “They’ve got some size and some senior leadership.”
Whitefield led at every quarter stop, fronting 19-12 after the first eight minutes. Trimble trailed 33-27 at halftime and 47-40 after three quarters. Whitefield had a big fourth quarter to end the game with a 14-point final advantage.
Following Tuesday’s game with Gallatin Trimble’s coach had anticipated that his Raiders would have their hands full with Thursday’s opponent.
“We’re going to have to play really well to win,” Leep said. “It’s going to be a tough challenge for us.”
Trimble’s boys closed out the home portion of their regular season last night by entertaining the Henry County Wildcats during the team’s annual Senior Night. The 2011-12 regular season will draw to a close Friday when Trimble’s boys’ and girls’ varsities will travel to North Bullitt.