Despite trailing by double-digits in both halfs, Madison Central still had a chance to upset the No. 1 ranked team in the state Friday in Richmond.
The Indians, however, let that shot at a big-time victory slip away at the free throw line.
Central hit just two-of-seven attempts from the line in the final 1:08, allowing Trinity (17-3) to hold on for a 57-50 victory.
Demarcus George had 12 points and 16 rebounds as the Indians (15-7) suffered a third-straight loss.
“We competed. We had our chances. We fought and we dug,” Central coach Allen Feldhaus said. “We clawed and got back in there, then I’ll be danged if we didn’t miss five free throws in the last minute. I was just really proud of our effort. They acted like they belonged out there with the No. 1 team in the state.”
The Shamrocks had just a 26-24 lead at halftime, but scored the first 11 points of the third quarter. Central scored just eight points in the period and Trinity carried a 14-point (46-32) lead into the fourth.
The Indians battled back.
They scored the first five points of the final period and then used a 10-2 run, fueled by George, to get back within four points (53-49).
George had eight points in the fourth quarter.
“He was real active,” Feldhaus said of George. “He has such long arms. I was real proud of Sam too because that guy he was guarding is a load. I thought he battled and I didn’t see him have any lapses in intensity.”
Jones finished with nine points and nine rebounds.
Trinity missed four of its final six free throws, but the Indians couldn’t take advantage of those misses. Coty Alexander missed three-of-five attempts and Cameron Thomas missed both his attempts inside the final minute.
On the season, Central is shooting just 59 percent from the line.
“That was the difference,” Feldhaus said of the free throws. “We fought and we fought.”
Central jumped out to a 6-1 run to start the game, but the Shamrocks finished the first quarter on an 11-2 run and never trailed again.
Trinity had a 22-10 lead in the second quarter before the Indians put together a 6-0 run.
“We started off well, but they made a run,” Feldhaus said. “We stopped moving offensively there in the first half. It was a fight. We answered the call.”
Central was 0-of-11 from three-point range and shot 39 percent from the field.
Alexander had 10 points and six rebounds. Thomas had nine points and four assists. Isaiah Johnson had six points and Kirk Humphrey had four points.
After a disappointing loss to Tates Creek on Tuesday at home, Feldhaus was very pleased with the overall play of his team against Trinity.
But, with several more ranked teams on the schedule in the coming weeks, the veteran coach knows his team can take plenty of positive things from this loss.
“We’ve got to build on this.”
Central is back in action at 7:30 p.m. today at home against Russell County.