His star junior guard Brandon Trimble had just broken the Class 2A state tournament record with 44 points Friday in a 60-48 semifinal win over Central and St. Joseph-Ogden coach Brian Brooks seemed remarkably restrained.
While he seemed as impressed as everyone else at Carver Arena after watching Trimble’s offensive explosion, Brooks acted like he had seen this sort of thing before.
“Obviously I’m biased, but I don’t think he’s gotten the attention that he deserves at the college level,” Brooks said with a nod toward Trimble’s recruiting. “Maybe this will open some eyes. He’s an awfully good basketball player that can play at the next level. For him to do it on the biggest stage ... I don’t want to say its not a surprise to us, but we all know in our gym how good he is.
“I’m really proud of him. Really happy for him.”
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Central’s defense held Trimble in check during a four-point second quarter, but he scored 11 in the first quarter, erupted for 18 in the third and tacked on 11 more in the fourth.
“Hes a very selfless player and when he gets in a zone like that, there’s not very many kids that can guard him,” St. Joe-Ogden’s Jake Pence said.
No one was doubting that after watching Trimble score 44 points against one of the best small-school defensive teams in the state. Ironically, the 2A state tournament single-game scoring record Trimble broke was held previously by former Central High star David Wiegmann.
Wiegmann had 32 points against Hales Franciscan in the 2010 third-place game.
“We tried to make him go left, because he got most of his points going right in the first half,” Central coach Jeremy Shubert said when asked about Trimble. “When he did go left in the second half he was able to hit the shots as well. Our defense has been very good all year and we just didn’t slide over and take the charges. We didn’t get it done tonight.”
Trimble had a lot to do with that. Central’s best defender, Logan Kohrmann, picked up two early fouls and spent time on the bench in the first and second half because of foul trouble.
Kolby Schulte and others tried to help, but Trimble’s ability to attack the rim and get shots off from a variety of angles made him tough to deal with.
Kohrmann had four 3-pointers among his 22 points and the Cougars also got 15 points off the bench from Mitchel Rule.
“Most of my points came off layups,” said Rule, who sank seven of his 12 shots and also had a team-leading seven rebounds. “Kolby did a great job of getting me the ball when I was open.”
Central won the Class 2A state title in 2012 and finished fourth in 2010. This is the seventh state tournament appearance since 2003 for the Cougars.
Shocker at the buzzer
In the other 2A semifinals Friday, Rockridge stunned Hales Franciscan 45-43 on a shot at the buzzer from well beyond halfcourt by Rockridge junior Carson Frakes.
With their team trailing, the Rockets were bringing the ball upcourt when Gentry Whietman fell to the court. He got the ball through two defenders to Frakes, who let it fly before the entire arena erupted in wild cheers when the ball splashed through the net just ahead of the buzzer. It’s a pretty good bet the replay of that shot will be seen a few times on ESPN’s Sportscenter.
Carlyle senior Maverick Taylor reached the finals of the Class 2A Country Financial 3-Point Showdown, finishing fourth after sinking five shots in the finals on Friday. Chicago Holy Trinity’s Christian Camarillo won by making 10 3-pointers.
Taylor reached the finals by sinking a sizzling 11 3-pointers in the preliminary round.
Triad High’s Laura Douglas sang the national anthem for the first game of the 1A and 2A semifinals on Friday.
All hands on deck
Of the 37 students at Class 2A state tourney qualifier Hales Franciscan from Chicago, 13 are on the basketball team.
“It’s hard to deny that we are a basketball school now,” Hales coach Gary London told the Chicago Tribune. “We have 17 seniors in school. Ten are on the basketball team.”
Hales Franciscan won a Class A state title in 2003 and a 2A state title in 2011. The school’s basketball success is the only reason it is competing in Class 2A because of the Illinois High School Association’s controversial “success factor.”
The “success factor” aligns private schools in a higher class than actual enrollment based on a formula that includes postseason wins and state tournament trips. As a result, Hales Franciscan’s classification enrollment as listed by the IHSA, which is based on last year’s enrollment, is 277.2
The Tribune reported that Hales’ steep enrollment drop was caused when the school nearly closed, with donors raising nearly $300,000 to avoid the closing.
Hales Franciscan also picked up three transfers this season in former Rich East guard Renardo Morgan, 6-foot-11 Karim Sameh from North Carolina and former Morgan Park 6-8 forward Austin Trice.