High School Basketball
Lions trying to rebound under new, familar coach
by chris goltermann and doug gorman
Matt Schock is no stranger to coaching basketball, even if he began the varsity season watching Trinity Christian games from a different viewpoint than now on the bench as the team’s interim head coach.
When the Lions returned from Christmas break following a 1-9 start, the TCS high school principal found himself trying to pick up the pieces heading into the bulk of Region 1-AAA play after taking over the coaching reins for former head coach and athletic director Anthony Lamb, who is no longer at the school.
Heading into tonight’s home game with Dominion Christian, Trinity’s boys, now 3-12 and 1-2 in the region, have won two of its last three games under Schock after having its first winning streak of the season snapped on Tuesday in a 57-56 loss on the road against region opponent Loganville Christian (8-3, 3-0).
“It’s been a while, but it’s been about as smooth [a transition] as I could imagine,” said Schock, who was Trinity’s first varsity basketball coach during its stint in the Independent Schools of Georgia and Alabama after coaching high school and NAIA-level teams in Minnesota. “They’re playing hard and we’re competing the best we can. I’m enjoying it.”
Schock had hung up his whistle in 2010 after coaching Trinity Christian’s 8-man championship football team to an undefeated record in the ICSGA.
The Lions, who used football standouts Drew Gibson and Mark Collier last year in the post, continue to be undersized against opponents despite benefiting from the play of Daniel Jones, Spencer Bryan, Korey McGinnis and Luke Hammock as scoring leaders. Junior Christian Downs, who joined the lineup just prior to Christmas break, had a team-high 22 points in last Saturday’s non-region win over Praise Academy.
“We have to play uptempo because we don’t really have a true post player,” Schock said. “We’re scoring between 60 and 70 points a game though our opponents are also scoring in the 60s and 70s too.”
Heritage School standout center Cole Jones posted 24 points and 11 rebounds in its 65-49 win over Trinity on Jan. 10, with the Lions unable to match his presence in the paint.
The Lions have hit the mark in four of their past seven games including a 78-77 loss to an Oak Mountain team on Jan. 9, that dominated Trinity early in the 2013-14 season with a 65-29 blowout win.
In eight games prior to Christmas break, Trinity’s boys averaged 49.3 points a game. In the team’s first seven games of January, offensive production has risen to 58.7 points per contest.
QUICK REMATCH FOR COUGARS-TRI-CITIES: Last Saturday, the boys standings in Region 3-AAAAAA took a bit of a shift after Tri-Cities scored the last 10-points of a 63-58 win at Newnan, which suffered its second region loss in as many nights.
Less than a week later, however, the Cougars will get their shot at both revenge and redemption in the region standings.
Coming off a victory Tuesday at home over Langston Hughes, Newnan (15-4, 3-2) can pull even with Bulldogs (9-9, 3-1) tonight with just four region games remaining in the regular season.
With both region-leading Westlake (19-1, 4-0) and Douglas County (14-3, 3-2) all vying for the top-two seeds in the region tournament, a loss would almost end the Cougars’ chances to finish at least in second place.
The Cougars play at home against Douglas County on Tuesday before traveling to Westlake (Jan. 31) and Hughes (Feb. 7), before another showdown with East Coweta, this time at the Max Bass Athletic Complex.
INDIANS HAVE CHANCE AT REDEMPTION: After suffering a humbling loss on Tuesday at Douglas County, East Coweta’s boys, at 2-15 overall and 0-4 in Region 3-AAAAAA have a chance to snap an eight-game losing streak against a young Langston Hughes team that has equally struggled with just one senior on the roster.
The Panthers (5-12, 0-4), who have 10 juniors, enter tonight on a four-game losing streak that includes recent loss at Tri-Cities (54-52) and at home to Douglas County (74-59).
Douglas County defeated East Coweta 100-46 on Tuesday at home.
The Indians’ closest opportunity to snag a region victory during their current slide was a 62-60 loss at home to Newnan 62-60 on Jan. 10.
ROLLER COASTER RIDE: The Northgate boys (8-10, 3-7) are hoping to play their way out of last place in the Region 4B-AAAAA standings with a victory tonight over second-place Creekside.
The Vikings began the week with a three-game winning streak that included last Saturday’s 44-40 win over East Coweta in a non-region game before falling at McIntosh on Tuesday 74-56.
Northgate’s also defeated subregion rival Starr’s Mill and Our Lady of Mercy during its recent win streak.
SEEKING A VICTORY: The Northgate, East Coweta and Newnan girls are each trying to snap losing streaks.
East Coweta comes into tonight’s game, having dropped 5 of its last 6 games. The Lady Indians only win during the stretch was a 54-47 decision over Northgate last Saturday in non-region play.
Newnan has lost three of its last four, but beat Tri-Cities last Saturday.
Northgate as dropped two in a row after beating Our Lady of Mercy 47-41 last week.