After seeing Benedictine swarm him defensively during a loss in the VISAA Division I final two weeks ago, Melo Trimble‘s plan was to play off his O’Connell teammates entering Saturday’s championship rematch at the Alhambra Catholic Invitational tournament.
That lasted all of one minute.
A three-point play on his first shot attempt sparked Trimble, who went on to score 34 points (including 27 in the first half) and lead the Knights to an 85-75 win against Benedictine at Frostburg State. The junior guard, who hit six three-pointers and finished 11-for-16 from the field, earned tournament MVP honors.
“I was trying to get my teammates involved because last time they keyed on me,” Trimble said, “but after I got fouled and hit that and-one on my jump shot, I just took over.”
Trimble, who averaged 20.8 points this season, wasn’t the only one hot from the field. The Knights (30-7) shot a blistering 70.7 percent, punctuating a three-game run in which they made 63.5 percent of their shots — a tournament record.
O’Connell built a 17-point lead in the third quarter before Benedictine surged back to cut the deficit to five with less than three minutes left. The rally likely brought memories of the VISAA final, when the fatigue from playing six games in eight nights slowed the Knights. But Trimble and his teammates made sure Saturday didn’t end in another loss, using sound passing and execution to thwart the Cadets’ defensive effort.
“They came at us with pressure and it kind of got to us, so we just had to be patient and attack their press,” Trimble said. “The difference this time was we were more focused. Last time, we were still hyped off winning the WCAC tournament but this time, we wanted to get that rematch and win because the Alhambra is a big tournament.”
About 350 miles south of Frostburg State, another big tournament was going on this past weekend as Maryland, the school to which Trimble is committed, was battling in the ACC tournament.
Trimble said he watched the first half of Maryland’s quarterfinal upset of Duke, which in hindsight he feels motivated him to lead O’Connell in a semifinal win against nationally ranked La Lumiere (Ind.) that same night. And though the Terps lost in the next round to UNC and ultimately missed the NCAA tournament, Trimble said this past season only made him more excited to be a Terrapin.
“It was an up-and-down season for them and they didn’t have a lot of consistency, but every time I watch them play, it makes me want to play there more,” the junior guard said. “You can tell Coach [Mark] Turgeon really wants to win and I’m the same type of person, so I’m excited.”
VIDEO OF THE DAY
Over the weekend, Princeton Day’s Aquille Carr dropped 52 points in his final high school game before officially announcing his plans to play professionally overseas in Europe.
NUMBER CRUNCH: 0
That’s how many weeks are left in our basketball rankings. Check Tuesday’s paper to see who finished as the top boys’ and girls’ basketball teams this season.
–Eleanor Roosevelt avenged last year’s title-game loss to Magruder by beating the Colonels, 61-56, in Saturday’s Maryland 4A championship.
–Potomac’s (Md.) playoff run ended with a tough 84-55 loss to Milford Mill in the Maryland 3A title game.