Playing their first game without leading rebounder Russell Mackins, the Wildcats relied more on a perimeter game that couldn’t overcome the size of the Illinois school.
The absence of Mackins, who suffered a knee injury the previous day against Cairo, was obvious on the offensive glass where the more physical Cyclones outrebounded Trigg 37-25 overall and grabbed 73-percent of Trigg’s missed shots, limiting their second chances.
Trigg’s backcourt duo of Jeremy Jones and Rodney Davis took to the outside, combining for 34 of Trigg County’s season-low 46 points, but they were a combined 13-of-41 from the field.
"Rodney is quick and can break you down off the dribble. Once he and Jeremy learn to play together, they could be as good a guard combo there is in the area," Chumbler said.
As a team, Trigg County found Springfield’s differing zones tough to solve and shot a season low 32-percent (18-of-55) from the floor.
SSHG (7-3) took command of the game early as Casey Sestak buried three 3-pointers in the game’s first four minutes to help the Cyclones to a 13-5 lead.
Trigg County suffered through an 8:38 scoreless spell in the first half that saw SHG score 12 straight points and a build a 29-11 lead.
Devin Tejada’s steal and layup with 1:50 left in the half ended the drought, but SHG took a 32-16 lead into halftime on the strength of 59-percent shooting from the field (13-of-22).
The Wildcats cut into the Cyclone lead with an 8-2 run to start the second half.
Tejada converted a 3-point play and a 3-pointer by Davis followed a bucket by Jones to get the Wildcats to within 34-24.
Trigg County never could get the deficit into single digits, and trailed 41-28 heading into the fourth quarter.
Two free throws by Eric Peterman, who is heading to Northwestern on a football scholarship, gave SHG a 47-37 lead with 3:52 left.
But Trigg County wasn’t ready to throw in the towel just yet.
Jones scored nine straight points, including a pair of long 3-pointers to trim the SHG lead to 48-45 with 1:36 left.
After Tony Nevins hit one of two free throws with 23 seconds left, Trigg set up for a final play to force a tie.
Jones’ pass intended for Davis was picked off on the wing by Nevins, who was fouled and hit two free throws for the final five-point margin.
"We played a great game to be shorthanded like we were and to come back on them. I was as proud of them as I was the Cairo game," Chumbler said, referring to Trigg’s comeback win over the Pilots the previous day.
Jones finished with 20 points and six rebounds, while Davis added 14 points.
Sestak led SHG with 12 points, and Alex Gee came off the bench to score 11 as SHG’s reserves outscored Trigg’s bench 20-4.
SHG outrebounded the Wildcats 37-25 – Trigg’s lowest output on the glass this season.
"We’re not going to get a lot of easy baskets with our small lineup. We’re struggling now on the boards," Chumbler said.
Neither team put on a clinic at the free throw line, with SHG hitting 9-of-18. Trigg County was 3-of-9, including 2-of-7 in the second half.
The Wildcats have shot under 50-percent from the free throw line in four of their 11 games this year.