Foothill’s boys basketball team was hanging with Trinity on Friday, trailing by six points entering the fourth quarter.
But the Thunder finally wore the Falcons down.
Trinity used its size to create a substantial rebounding advantage and claimed an 80-61 win in the semifinals of the Las Vegas Prep Championship at Las Vegas High.
“They’re a smart club, they’re a good club. We’re just more athletic,” Trinity coach Greg Lockridge said. “We’re a little faster, a little bigger, so we would impose our will at the rim.”
The Thunder outrebounded Foothill 38-15, and that ultimately was the difference for Trinity, which plays a national schedule and doesn’t compete for a state championship.
“The name of the game is points per possession, and rebounds give you possessions,” Lockridge said. “It’s where we run into trouble against the Findlay Preps, the other teams. We’re not as big, but I think we’re big enough. We just don’t do the other things, the box-outs. Here, we didn’t box out well. We had one or two box-outs, but we were just longer.”
Marlin Leston and Zaba Bangala, two 6-foot-8-inch forwards, teamed with 6-5 point guard Daishen Nix to control the glass for the Thunder. Foothill’s tallest player is 6-5, and the Falcons generally play four-guard offenses.
“They got a lot of points off second-chance opportunities,” Foothill coach Paul DeSantis said. “But I was proud of our guys. We had it to six going to the fourth quarter, so our guys were fighting. We’re not faster than them, we’re not stronger than them, we’ve just got to try to play hard.”
A fast-break basket by Foothill’s Jace Roquemore cut the lead to 57-51 after three quarters. But after making 10 of 11 field goals in the third quarter, the Falcons were 3-for-14 in the fourth.
Nix had 24 points, six rebounds and five assists to lead Trinity. Bangala had 18 points and seven rebounds, and Leston added 12 rebounds.
Roquemore had 26 points, four rebounds and three assists for Foothill.
“You can’t say enough about Daishen,” DeSantis said. “He takes over the game sometimes. But I thought our guy was taking over, too. (Roquemore) played well.”
— Spring Valley’s Jahlani Blair had 30 points and nine rebounds and was 6-for-6 from the free-throw line in the second overtime in an 82-77 win over host Las Vegas in the Las Vegas Prep Championship. Las Vegas’ Jaylin Headen had 40 points and 20 rebounds.
— Desert Pines’ Darnell Washington had 22 points and 20 rebounds in an 83-74 double overtime win over La Jolla Country Day (California) in the Under Armour Holiday Classic in San Diego.
— Cimarron-Memorial’s Elise Young had 28 points in a 61-53 win over Spring Creek in the Las Vegas Holiday Classic at Centennial.
— Del Sol’s Markay Merchant scored 27 points in a 52-10 win over host Mountain View in the Vegas Invitational.