Without a home court advantage lately, the Euless Trinity boys basketball team has been drawing from within for support and morale during a tough stretch of non-district play.
Coach Mark Villines uses the last few minutes of practice each day for something he calls Team Time, during which time he puts the balls back on the rack and turns to a selected player to address the team about areas of improvement, the energy level in practice, or for a good old-fashioned pep talk. The team hasn’t played a home game since a season-opening 61-59 win over Wichita Falls Hirschi on Nov. 17, and the Trojans aren’t scheduled for another game in the friendly confines of their home court until the second game of District 7-6A play on Jan. 5 against Haltom.
All in all, that’s a stretch of 13 straight road games. Even in the face of it all, Trinity is 8-4 on the year after going 3-1 at the Keller ISD tournament last week for a very respectable fifth-place finish.
“We’ve had to face a lot of adversity in the last couple weeks, so I guess I’m most proud that despite that the team has been able to grind out wins,” Villines said.
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In Keller, the Trojans took a 45-42 win in the first round over Georgetown before falling in the quarterfinals to Fort Worth Paschal, 63-54. After scoring just 17 points in the first half against Georgetown, Trinity took control in the second half for the close win. Guard Jhivvan Jackson led all scorers with 28 points in the loss to Paschal.
Trinity ended the tournament with a 73-67 win over Keller on Friday and a 35-32 grinder over Keller Timber Creek on Saturday to finish fifth in the tourney. Jhivvan Jackson had 20 more against Keller, while guard Devin Newton had 10 crucial second-half points against Timber Creek to help secure the win and end the tournament on a high note.
The Trojans welcomed sophomore forward Jacob Jackson back to the court against Keller, where he chipped in 13 points in his first game eligible since the season opener.
“He had a great game against Keller,” Villines said. “Getting him back out there and in the right frame of mind gives us that third option we really need.”
Jacob Jackson was the District 7-6A Newcomer of the Year a season ago. At 6-5, he’s got the height to control the paint, while his style of play fits more in the mold of a swing forward.
“He’s got a skill set where he can catch it on the wing and shoot it and get to the bucket when he wants,” Villines said. “If he can add that back-to-the-basket game, he’s going to be an extremely tough match-up for a lot of teams.”
The Trojans continue their stretch on the road Friday at Birdville.
Trinity girls pick up two more wins
The Trinity girls basketball team has quietly put together one of the area’s most impressive non-district runs. After picking up wins last week at Dallas Lake Highlands and at Irving, Trinity was 13-1 heading into District 7-6A play, which started Tuesday at Richland.
Junior guard Trinity Oliver had 30 points in Trinity’s 74-20 win at Dallas Lake Highlands, where the Lady Trojans put four players in double-digit scoring. Freshmen Tamariyae Battle and Kayla Hunter chipped in 12 and 11, respectively.
Point guard Haleigh Talbert led Trinity with 27 in the Lady Trojans’ 59-46 win at Irving, while Oliver put in 22.
What makes the team scary is how young it is. Talbert and Oliver are juniors, while a stable of freshmen are getting key minutes and developing quickly as the season progresses.
The Lady Trojans will host Class 4A Krum on Friday before participating in Duncanville’s Sandra Meadows Classic tournament Dec. 28-30.