TRINITY — The good times continued to roll for Trinity last week, as the Bulldogs bagged a couple of conference road victories.
Wheatmore put forth a spirited effort, but ultimately fell short in a 60-48 PAC 1A/2A boys contest. Trinity (9-2) then edged Uwharrie Charter, 65-64, to record its second win of the week on Saturday.
The Bulldogs, scoring the first 13 points of the third quarter, broke free in the second half to lead by double digits and held on to beat Wheatmore.
In the girls game, Trinity steadily built a double digit lead, pulling away in the final two quarters, to win 54-44 over the Warriors.
“I thought we played well in spurts,” Bulldogs coach Tim Kelly said. “Third quarter we played really well. I think we held them scoreless for about 6½ minutes. Our shot selection was a bit questionable at times, but we talked about how every time we come over here it’s going to be a tough game.”
Dominic Payne scored 29 points against the Warriors to lead Trinity (9-2 overall, 2-1 conference), which started the game hitting five 3-pointers in six possessions to help build an early eight-point lead. Dylan Hodges added 15 points, while Brandon Campbell had 14 points.
The Bulldogs, regaining the lead after the Warriors rallied to lead by two midway through the second, carried a 32-30 lead into halftime. They scored on five of their first 10 possessions of the third to lead by 13. Meanwhile, Wheatmore was scoreless on its first 12 trips upcourt.
“We really got a lot of second-chance points,” said Payne, a junior guard, of the second half. “More offensive rebounds. Really, we just wanted it harder than they did and came out with a win.”
The Warriors got back on track to close the gap to six late in the third and got as close as four early in the fourth. But Payne answered with a three-point play with 6:54 left in the game to push Trinity’s advantage back to seven, and the Bulldogs eventually got their lead back to double digits with 2:40 left in the game.
“We quit gambling,” Kelly said of the difference late. “If you gamble and miss, they’ve got good shooters. They do a good job making that extra pass. They played us zone, so you have to attack the gaps. And let’s be honest, you have to make some shots.”
Riley Strickland scored nine points to lead a well-balanced offense for Wheatmore (3-5, 0-3). Parker Kinas and Tyler Kimball each added seven points.
“We played pretty well,” Warriors coach Jonathan Evans said. “We executed well, we got good shots. I thought we stayed inside ourselves most of the night and played about as well as we could. Just a few bad spurts got us tonight.
“We always talk about easy shots leading to more difficult shots. We missed those free layups, and it made the other shots more difficult. I really felt like that was the difference in the game.”
In the girls’ game against Wheatmore, Autumn Gentry scored 23 points — her sixth 20-point game of the season — to lead Trinity (7-4 overall, 1-2 conference). Kennedy Jackson chipped in 18 points, while Kaelyn Whitehart contributed 13 points.
“We settled down in the second half,” Bulldogs coach Mike Sink said. “In the first half, because we’re rivals, we just had to settle down. We started getting into some of our stuff and everyone was looking for everyone.”
Trinity, after a bit of a slow start, used a five-point spurt late in the second to lead by eight and carried a 31-24 lead into halftime. Scoring back-to-back buckets in the third got its lead to nine and tallying the first five points of the fourth pushed it to 13.
“Our defense was better, and we worked much better as a team,” said Gentry, a senior guard who made a long 3 to start the fourth. “We just had to keep going because we knew it wasn’t going to be an easy game because it’s Wheatmore.
“That was pretty amazing,” she said with a smile. “Especially coming off the last few years when we didn’t have the strongest team. But this year I feel like we’ve worked together as a team to build this.”
The Bulldogs led by 14 with 3:40 left after Gentry hit another 3. Wheatmore, upping the pressure and getting up the court, trimmed its deficit back within single digits inside the final minute but couldn’t pull closer.
Brianna Hill scored 18 points while Kynnedi Routh added 11 points to lead the Warriors (1-7, 0-3).
“Each and every day we’re getting better,” Wheatmore coach Hayley Williams said. “From the beginning of the season to now, we were getting beat by 25 and now we’re getting beat by 10. It’s all starting to click, all starting to come together.
“We’re starting to become more of a team and have more basketball IQ. Our girls played all the way through. We played to the last buzzer. We gave it everything we had and left it all on the court. And that’s all I can ask of them.”
The Warriors weren’t able to get back into the win column later in the week when they took on Eastern Randolph. Wheatmore’s girls fell 65-44 to the Wildcats, while ER topped the Warrior boys in a 99-47 final.
Trinity’s girls were tripped up at Uwharrie Charter, 44-23, in their second game of the week.