Trigg led 35-30 at halftime but fell apart after Livingston outscored the ‘Cats 25-10 in the third quarter.
In the span of a few minutes beginning near the end of the third quarter and ending at 7:12 in the fourth, Trigg head coach Mike Wright and assistant coach Rick Chidester were ejected from the contest. Both will be required by KHSAA rule to sit out the next two games and complete a sportsmanship program.
Wright said he believes his and Chidester’s ejections were the result of overreactions by officials. According to the officials reports and Wright’s account of events after the game, Chidester had made a comment about the discrepancy in fouls called (Livingston was assessed 20 fouls, while Trigg was whistled for 32) and was removed after waving off a referee after a foul call.
Wright’s ejection stemmed from the referee’s using Trigg’s towels to wipe sweat from the floor and not using any towels from Livingston’s bench. When Wright confronted an official about this, he was ejected.
“I didn’t think we got any breaks tonight,” Wright said. “I’m not making excuses, because that didn’t cost us the game. Rick simply said ‘Hey, call the foul’ one time and got a technical, then they threw him out for waving his hand.
“I was frustrated and said ‘Go get a towel from them every now and then, we haven’t gotten anything from you.’ As long as I’m coaching, a couple of those gentlemen won’t be back.”
His ejection provided a spark for the ‘Cats, who had fallen behind by 10 points and used a 16-9 run to close the gap to 64-61 with 4:23 remaining in the game. However, Zeke Wright, who led Trigg with 25 points, fouled out at about the same time, and the ‘Cats continued to struggle on offense and at preventing the Cardinals from generating easy shot opportunities.
Jalik Alexander added 20 for Trigg, and Javin Grubbs had 11.
The final 12-point cushion for Livingston was accounted for at the free throw line, where the Cardinals (33-of-52) made more shots than Trigg attempted (20-of-27).
Trigg was set to host Webster County on Tuesday (results unavailable at press time) and will play Thursday at Hopkins Central before hosting Crittenden County next Tuesday. A win over the Rockets or against Lyon County (game not yet rescheduled) would prevent any chance of Trigg falling to the No. 4 seed. Lyon County has clinched the top seed in the tournament.