Crusaders top Trinity, 57-41

Parkersburg Catholic’s Alec Hinton (12) tries to block a shot by Trinity Christian’s Spencer Kendall in the first half Saturday afternoon at PCHS. The host Crusaders won, 57-41. Photo by Steve Hemmelgarn.

PARKERSBURG —  Coming out to start the second half with a 10-2 run to quickly grab a 15-point lead in the first 2:50 was a springboard for Parkersburg Catholic en route to a 57-41 triumph over visiting Trinity Christian Saturday afternoon.

Rob Strcula’s Class A No. 10-ranked Crusader cagers, now 6-2 on the season, were paced in point-production by Logan Plummer with 16, followed by A.J. Collins’ 13, Cade Ullman’s 10, Austin Sweeney with nine and Alec Hinton’s seven.

Trinity, which dropped to 3-4, was led in scoring by Joseph Zini with 11 points, Briston Bennett with 10 and Spencer Kendall with eight.

In fact, the Warriors, who although were quelled quite a bit on offense Saturday by PCHS’ defense, did take a 4-0 lead in the game before the Crusaders scored. The first quarter was nip and tuck, with Catholic’s biggest lead being 14-11 with 1:13 left.

But Trinity’s Kellen Alderman hit a short baseline basket off an inbounds pass at 3.8 seconds to close the gap to 14-13 at the quarter break.

The second stanza saw PCHS forge an early 17-13 advantage, but Trinity knotted the count at 17-17 and 19-all before Hinton canned a trey from the corner and Ullman connected from 3-point land also for a seven-point Crusader lead (27-20) that was intact, 29-22, at halftime.

However, Catholic’s offensive outburst to open the second half put the host team pretty much in control.

The PCHS third-quarter blitz began on back-to-back 3-balls by Sweeney and Collins for a 35-22 bulge and after a Trinity hoop, a Plummer free throw and Collins’ three-point play upped the margin to 39-24.

The Warriors bounced back, though, to pull within 39-28 at the 3:46 mark, prior to four Plummer foul shots that made it a 15-point spread again at 43-28. But Trinity closed on a 5-0 spurt for only a 10-point deficit, 43-33, going to the fourth quarter.

That’s when Catholic kicked off the final period with a decisive 8-1 run to surge out to a 51-34 lead with just 4: 09 to play. In the run, Plummer first had a basket and two free throws, then Sweeney added a hoop and Collins tallied a pair of foul shots — and Trinity got no closer than 15 again.

Catholic’s defensive presence limited the Warriors to two single-digit quarters — 9 in the second and 8 in the fourth — and 11 and 13 in the other two.

“We played really good defense in the second half (19 points total),” said Strcula. “We want to try to make a real effort to hold teams under 50 (points) right now, because we’re not going to win games down the road at the end of the season and in the playoffs if we don’t play good defense. So we made a concerted effort in practice this past week to really make a good defensive effort today.”

Plus “offensively,” Strcula added, “we did a great job taking care of the basketball; we had patience on offense and had good shot selection. The way we’re playing offensively, we’re not putting up big numbers, but we still had four players in double figures today.”