Cougars top Tigers, advance to semifinal

EDINBURGH — Like the two teams’ meeting in the regular season, little separated Trinity Lutheran and Crothersville on the hardwood Tuesday.

The first-round Edinburgh Sectional contest proved a barnburner, with the Cougars coming out on top 74-71. Trinity will play West Washington at around 7:30 p.m. Friday in the sectional semifinals.

In the first quarter, the Tigers (15-9) jumped to a 7-2 lead behind four different scorers by the 4:43 mark. A 3-pointer from Jack Marksberry and layup by Tyler Goecker pulled Trinity (8-16) back within two points before Josh Thomas hit a 3-pointer to put Crothersville up 12-7. Another trey by Marksberry cut the Cougars’ deficit to 16-12 by the end of eight minutes.

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Five straight points by Trinity gave the Cougars the lead at 17-16 with 6:26 left in the half. The teams then got into a shootout. Before the halftime buzzer, the teams traded the score eight times. Jacob Rowe’s 3-pointer with 25 seconds on the clock would prove the difference, and Trinity held a 28-26 lead at the break.

Four points by Rowe and a 3-pointer from Goecker extended the Cougars’ lead to 35-28 two minutes into the third quarter before the teams traded baskets for the next four minutes. While the teams exchanged points, Trinity would maintain the edge by sinking four 3-pointers in the stretch. A trey from Josh Rowe and a basket by Marksberry before the buzzer gave the Cougars a 53-43 lead going into the final eight minutes.

The Tigers went on a 9-3 run to open the fourth quarter to cut the lead to 56-52. From the 4:30- to 1:50-mark, Crothersville closed the gap to 65-61.

Goecker hit four free throws to put Trinity up 73-69 before Logan Brewer put the Tigers back within a score on a basket with 4.6 ticks left. After A.J. Goecker split free throws on an intentional foul, Brewer was able to hoist a 3-pointer from the right side of the arc but didn’t hit.

Marksberry, a freshman, led the Cougars with 22 points, and Jacob Rowe added 15. Trinity hit 11 total 3-pointers, with Marksberry hitting four.