Tigers can’t get past MCC, fall in regional semifinals


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Holy Trinity's Rey Idowu battles Melbourne Central Catholic's Levi Wilson (No 4) and Najuan Durant (No. 25) for position during Tuesday night's Class 5A regional semifinal game. MCC won the game 73-62.

VIERA VOICE Carl Kotala

The Holy Trinity boys basketball team knew going into the season that getting back to the Class 5A final four for a third straight season was going to be a challenge.

Well, Tuesday night, in a hostile environment, the Tigers ran into a challenge they could not overcome.

The incredibly athletic, highly-motivated Melbourne Central Catholic Hustlers defeated the visiting Tigers 73-62 in the Class 5A regional semifinals.

MCC (28-2) will advance to Friday’s regional finals on the road against The Villages Charter School (27-2), which defeated defending Class 3A champ Windermere Prep in the other regional semifinal.

Holy Trinity finishes the season at 22-7.

Seth Coleman led the Tigers with 15 points Tuesday night. Cory Kaplan had 13 and Brandon Schwab added 12. Tay Griffin was next with eight points.

MCC, which got 20 points from Lorenzo Hardy, jumped on the Tigers early, taking a 12-4 first quarter lead and forcing Holy Trinity to play catch up for the entire game in front of a frenzied, standing-room only crowd.

A 3-pointer by Coleman with just over three minutes cut the Hustlers’ lead to five, but the cold-shooting Tigers could never get over the hump against an MCC team that not only took advantage of every fast break opportunity, but also executed well in the half court offense and dominated on the inside.

“We missed a bunch of shots,” Holy Trinity coach Steve Henderson said. “The biggest problem in the first half is we didn’t rebound well. When we don’t rebound well, we don’t get transition layups. And when we don’t get transition layups early, we struggle in the half-court offense.

“In the fourth quarter, we started doing things we normally do, which is defending and getting out running and scoring. It was a tough night.

“(MCC coach) Rob (Terry) did a great job of keeping the pace of the game. They were able to run and they were able to slow down and get the buckets they needed. It made it tough.”

While Henderson did not want to make excuses, the absence of injured starting guard Jashaun Corbin clearly affected the Tigers, who could never seem to get into any kind of rhythm throughout the game – on either end of the floor.

“It’s been a rough week,” Henderson admitted. “We’ve been injury-free all year and then we have (Corbin) break his foot (in last week’s district title game against MCC).

“That was a huge hit. We had one of our other guys get stitches earlier in the week and that kind of threw off practice. We had two ankle rolls this week and six kids with the flu.

“It’s been one of those weeks, but I feel the boys … even though they weren’t healthy, they were at practice, giving it their all. They fell short tonight, but I know they laid it all on the line.”

It was the final game for Holy Trinity seniors Griffin, Kaplan, John Wills and Rey Idowu.

The rest of the Tigers will be back to make another run at the state tournament after making the final four in 2015 and reaching the title game in 2016.

“We’ve got a lot coming back,” Henderson said. “Hopefully, we build on it and go from there.”