LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- The third time was the charm for Trinity.
The second-ranked Shamrocks edged Ballard 59-58 for the boys 7th Region Basketball title Monday night at Valley High School. The top-ranked Bruins had beaten Trinity this season for the King of the Bluegrass Championship and in the semi-finals of the Louisville Invitational Tournament. They had also beaten the Rocks in the 7th region title game last season.
"We knew it would be a battle. They're a great team," said Trinity Head Coach Mike Szabo. "I am just so proud of our guys. This team fought hard and left nothing in the tank. We knew that's what it was going to take; phenomenal effort, great preparation by everybody in our program, our coaches and our guys and great support from our students, the sixth man right there."
After some hot outside shooting early, Ballard rallied to take a 35-34 lead at halftime, and still had a one-point advantage at 46-45 after threee quarters.
The Bruins pushed the pace and pushed the lead to six on a couple of occassions in the fourth quarter at 51-45 and 56-50. Trinity kept chipping away and got the lead at 57-56 on a drive by Michael Stafford with 1:24 left. Down one with :02.9 remaining, Ballard attempted an inbounds lob to Jalen Perry. His off-balance shot bounced off and the Rock fans celebrated with a court-storming.
"They were so focused on how we needed to stop them defensively," said Szabo. "We did a great job being in attack mode on offense, finishing at the rim. I questioned this team's toughness all year long. They proved a lot to me tonight. They really are tough."
Trinity (29-5) plays Owensboro (21-10) in the first round of the Boys' Sweet 16 at 1:30 pm a week from Wednesday at Rupp Arena.
Other area winners Tuesday night were Bardstown 61-44 over Elizabethtown for the Boys 5th Region title and South Oldham, a 50-47 winner over Simon Kenton to claim the Boys 8th Region crown.
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