Boys head coach Mike Wright entered his team in the Mountain Schoolboy Classic in Pike County. The event was held close enough to the border that Trigg’s entourage stayed in a West Virginia hotel.
Trigg won one of three games while on the trip, winning 65-49 over Morgan County and falling 93-56 to Cordia and 74-72 against host Belfry. Entering Friday’s district contest at Lyon County, the Wildcats are 8-6 overall and second in the district with a 2-1 record, trailing only the 3-0 Lyons.
“We’re 8-6, but we feel like we could have turned three of those losses into wins,” Wright said. “Best case scenario for us is that we could be 11-3 right now.”
Wright said the areas in need of the most immediate need of improvement for the ‘Cats are shooting accuracy, ball handling and passing.
“We’ve tried to become a passing team, but we’re not that skilled at it,” Wright said. “Poor shooting percentages and high turnover rate are our biggest problems right now. For us to be a better second-half team, we’ve got to take better care of the ball, limit our turnovers to 10 or less a game, and shoot a higher percentage.”
Wright also pointed to the team’s low free throw shooting percentage as a reason for losing some close games in the first half of the season. However, Trigg’s defense has been a positive so far and is one of the big reasons the ‘Cats have played in so many close games.
“We have to play as hard as we can every single game, because if we don’t, we’ll run into some trouble.”
While the trip to Belfry wasn’t as successful as the team would have liked, Wright said it was a positive, team-building experience for his players.
“We had a chance to talk a lot about the culture and history of eastern Kentucky and stay in West Virginia, right in the middle of Hatfield-McCoy territory,” Wright said. “We went to an old gym [Williamson Memorial Field House] where Jerry West had played. We saw coal mines, talked to people who work them and to a lady who lost her son in a mining accident. It was a great cultural experience, one the kids will always remember.”
While the boys were away, the girls spent the break facing a nearly two-week spell without a game after finishing in fourth place in Trigg’s Kentucky Machine and Engineering Christmas Classic.
It’s the second consecutive year the Lady Wildcats haven’t had games scheduled between the home tournament and their return to school in January, and head coach Amy Breckel said setting the schedule up that way gives the players a chance to re-energize before the second half of the season.
“It gives us a chance to rest and also come in to practice and work on some things that haven’t been clicking for us,” Breckel said. “Hopefully, that will help us coming back. We haven’t played a game, and sometimes it takes a little while to get back in a groove, but I don’t think it will take us long to get back to where we were before Christmas.”
The Lady ‘Cats are 5-5 overall and 1-2 in the district at the break, tied with Lyon County and Livingston Central behind 3-0 Crittenden County. A furious comeback Dec. 11 at Livingston fell one point short, and Breckel said the Christmas tournament was another missed opportunity for at least one more win.
“We came out flat against McLean County, and we had a great start against St. Mary, but we haven’t learned how to keep a team down once we’ve gotten them there,” Breckel said.
A drawback for Trigg during that tournament was top scorer Ashley Matlock, who battled through an illness that week.
“The kids could really see the impact of that, especially on the second night against McLean,” Breckel said. “I do think we showed some resilience with that start against St. Mary.”
Breckel said the team can show improvement in the coming weeks by capitalizing on multiple options on offense – Matlock on the drive, Brooke Kearney’s outside shooting and Morgan Parker’s inside presence.
The Lady ‘Cats returned to action Tuesday at home against Crittenden (results unavailable at press time) and will play the back half of a boy-girl doubleheader Friday at Lyon before hosting Dawson Springs next Tuesday, one night after the boys face the Panthers at home.