HAMLET — Trinity’s plan was to keep Zach Richie down.
Their plan was more successful than they could have hoped, and Trinity left Oregon-Davis with a win at the Bobcats’ Homecoming, 72-59.
“We knew we had to stop Zach,” Trinity head coach Mark Havard said. “We knew he was their big scorer. We knew he was a tough competitor, but we were up for the challenge. “
Big scorer might be an understatement. As a junior, the Bobcat is only 28 points shy of 1000, and only five points shy of O-D’s record of most points scored in a season. But the Titans were certainly up to the challenge.
With three men on the 6-foot-1 guard, Trinity held Richie to 22 points for the night. Havard was pleased with their results.
“You can’t shut down an offensive player like that,” he said. “You can only contain him. That was our game plan — just try to contain him.”
Despite the tough defense, led by Titans John Loughran, Peter Cramer and Gabriel Jacobs, O-D was able to top the scoreboard most of the game. It wasn’t until three minutes left in play with two offensive fouls against the Bobcats — one resulting in Richie’s fifth foul — that the momentum shifted dramatically.
“In the fourth quarter, a couple of calls didn’t go our way,” O-D head coach Matthew Richie said. “We started to get upset and we started to lose our heads. When we lose our heads, we lose the game.”
Within only a few possessions of the ball, Oregon-Davis went from a one-point lead to an eight-point deficit.
Without a leader in Richie, the Bobcats struggled.
“We have to play through those things,” coach Richie said.
He also said his team needs to work through the tough defensive strategies that his team has been seeing lately.
“Zach’s seeing a lot of pressure,” he said. “Tonight it was triangle-and-two, and the triangle was on Zach.
“He had three guys on him, and we had open shots that we didn’t make. The guys are going to have to make those shots from now on because they are going to keep putting three guys on Zach.”
With the leader out, either by an uneven defensive strategy or foul trouble like tonight, Coach Richie looks for his other players to step up, including junior Zachary Taylor and senior Craig McIntosh.
But Richie admits that size and height is an issue for his team, with his center, Taylor, standing at only 5-10.
For McIntosh, a 5-6 guard, size doesn’t seem to stop him.
“McIntosh has a bull in a china shop mentality,” Richie said. “He’s going to go at it and hit the guys as hard as he can.”
With that kind of aggression, McIntosh added 21 points to the scoreboard for the Bobcats’ Homecoming game, many of those points coming from underneath.
While looking for another leader for the Bobcats, Richie complimented his defensive star for the night, junior Nolan Coffin.
“Nolan probably did the best job on defense that he’s done all year,” Richie said. “He did a great job of getting his hands up and deflecting passes. He put us in a good position in the third quarter.”
But even Coffin’s defense wasn’t enough to stop Trinity’s leading scorer for the night, Eddie Pingel. Going out with a similar mentality as McIntosh, he didn’t let his 5-10 size stop him from scoring or rebounding. The senior had 27 points for the night, along with 11 rebounds. Pingel’s points included four three pointers that helped changed the momentum of the game. The Titans shot 35 percent from the arc for the night.
Also stepping up for the Titans was sophomore Mark Smith.
“This was Mark’s first start for us,” Havard said. “We’ve seen Mark grow over the year. He’s matured. We felt like he’d be a great asset.
With 16 points for the night, most coming from fast breaks and hustle, Smith certainly was an asset for his team. The Titans were also helped by senior Caleb Day with 11 points and 12 rebounds.
• TRINITY 72,
Score by quarters
Trinity: 12 34 45 72
OD: 15 30 48 59
TRINITY (72): Peter Cramer 0, Caleb Day 13, John Feeks 8, Gabe Jacobs 0, John Loughran 2, Andrew Pingel 6, Ed Pingel 27, Mark Smith 16.
OD (59): Nathan Boyle 0, Nolan Coffin 2, Marc Edwards 3, Ricardo Mastrocesare 0, Craig McIntosh 20, Zach Richie 22, Dalton Taylor 0, Zach Taylor 3, Kenneth VanDeMieroop 9.
Records: Oregon-Davis 3-13, Trinity 10-6.