Less than 24 hours after making their best argument that they are the top boys basketball team in Brevard County this season, the Holy Trinity Tigers found themselves facing another big challenge.
And just like every obstacle that’s been put in front of them so far, the Tigers found a way to overcome it.
Trailing by one at the half, Holy Trinity put on a strong second-half performance to defeat Daytona Beach’s DME Sports Academy 61-55 Saturday afternoon.
The win came on the heels of a 53-44 road win against previously unbeaten Astronaut Friday night and left the Tigers as the only boys team with a perfect record (10-0) in the county.
“I was really proud of them,” Holy Trinity coach Steve Henderson said after Saturday’s win. “Today was really tough, mentally. We had a really big win (Friday) night, and we didn’t have a game all week (before that).
“It’s something that we talked about all week – Astronaut. DME never even came up. Knowing we got that big win last night really challenged them to change their focus to, ‘that’s over and let’s see what we can do moving forward.’
“I was really proud of the way they came out and played today with the energy that they had. There were some moments where we did some things that were not ideal, but we were mentally able to gather ourselves and fight through it.”
Senior Demetrius “Meech” Robinson and freshman Elijah Reynolds both scored 15 points to lead the Tigers on Saturday. Theo Mansell and Buay Toang each had eight.
Holy Trinity had beaten DME 61-36 earlier this season. However, DME has multiple varsity teams and the squad that came to Melbourne on Saturday was clearly the “A” team led by some strong outside shooting and inside play.
That outside shooting carried DME to a 26-25 halftime lead over the Tigers.
“We were playing hard in the first half, but we weren’t playing smart,” Robinson said. “We weren’t talking on defense and getting over the screens and communicating, which is key, because if you don’t do that they’re going to score every time off the screens.
“We did that more in the second half. Coach was on us about that, so we made sure we did that. We rebounded more and boxed out and we executed our offense.”
Reynolds, a freshman point guard, was particularly effective in the second half, scoring nine of his 15 points as the Tigers started get control of the game.
Robinson said he’s been impressed with Reynolds’ maturity on the court.
“He’s a freshman, but he doesn’t look like a freshman when he’s out there,” Robinson said. “He looks like a junior, or maybe even a senior. He’s out there dribbling the ball, handling the pressure and shooting with confidence, too.
“That’s a big key about him. That’s what probably what most impresses me about him, his confidence. He’s not scared. He’s not going to back down from the fight. He’s going to come ready to play.”
Robinson, a 6-foot-5 guard/forward, has certainly come up big for the Tigers this season, too.
He had 18 points to lead Holy Trinity in it’s big win against Astronaut (14-1), which got 30 points from University of Illinois at Chicago commitment, Jace Carter.
Mansell had 13 points in that game. Toang had 10.
Astronaut came into the game ranked No. 2 in Class 4A and No. 18 overall. Holy Trinity was ranked No. 6 in Class 3A and No. 28 overall.
The win should not only help boost the Tigers’ ranking, but also their confidence.
“It was pretty big,” Robinson said. “The county talks a lot about who’s best and who’s second. We feel like we’re the best and I feel like we proved it (Friday night). It felt good to get that win (Friday night).”
With a number of big games still left on the schedule – including next Saturday’s game at Rockledge – it’s a safe bet Henderson won’t let his players get too caught up in their success.
But Henderson also made it clear that as challenging as it has been playing a season amidst a global COVID-19 pandemic, he’s really enjoying this group.
“It’s a good group of kids,” Henderson said. “It’s been an exciting year with them in a tough situation. They listen. And we’re just starting to see how they’re coming together, not only on the court, but together outside (of it), which has been really nice.
“It’s been an exciting last couple of weeks.”