Trinity Basketball’s strong three-point shooting and rapid play style was enough to overcome a half-time deficit and defeat Barrow Rovers 71-54 last night in the first game of their league campaign.
Trinity’s first points came from a foul in traffic against Manuel Carro, whose explosive drives to the rim proved difficult for Barrow Rovers to slow throughout the match, but the early stages were dominated by the visitors. Trinity consistently failed to box out the more physical opposition in the opening minutes, giving Barrow Rovers a large number of second-chance points that quickly swung the momentum against the home side.
With Louis Siebenaler bearing the brunt of the ball-handling duties during the match, Trinity pushed the pace and looked to exploit their opponents on the fast break, but a lack of control on the counter-attack saw the home side committing a number of turnovers.
Barrow Rovers gained a seven-point lead as their bench unit provided more energy and athleticism, which Trinity’s defence struggled against throughout the match. But the home side were largely successful in closing out despite the impressive off-ball sequences of the visitors, forcing them to attempt difficult mid-range shots.
On the other end of the court, Trinity began to climb out of their shooting slump with the help of Johan Nasland, whose clean shooting stroke invigorated the side’s offence towards the end of the first quarter, closing the gap to just three points before the buzzer.
The second quarter saw Trinity gain confidence and composure, as they started to string together defensive stops and put points up on the board. Robbie Fidgeon-Kavanaugh hit two three-pointers in quick succession, the second coming from a drive and kick from Manus Darby, bringing Trinity within a single point of the visitors for the first time since the start of the match. Spurred on by a number of forced misses from the opposition, Trinity began to take control of the game, with Siebenaler scoring a layup around three defenders before getting another two points on the counter attack, attacking the two-on-one with Carro. Fidgeon-Kavanaugh added another two points with a mid-range, assisted off an offensive rebound by Peter Coogan, and closed the half out with a final three-pointer to make the score 34-27 going into the break.
Despite this revival towards the end of the first half, Trinity didn’t fully control the game in the third quarter, seemingly unable to finish off Barrow Rovers. They started strongly, with a quick layup from Siebenaler followed by a stop on the defensive end making it 36-30. Soon after Fidgeon-Kavanaugh scored from his own offensive rebound to cement Trinity’s lead, if only briefly.
Rovers struck back quickly, transitioning from a slow half-court offence to a much faster style of play, with quick layups cutting the lead down to just one point as Trinity scrambled to force turnovers. A spin move in the post finished by a layup gave the visitors the lead by a point, though a deflected pass soon after by Trinity was converted by Carro to make the score 42-41 in favour of the home side. Trinity went into the final quarter level with the visitors at 46-46.
Trinity finally took full control of the match at this point, with their shots finally falling and successful rebounding on both ends of the floor. A number of technical fouls by Rovers added to the home side’s points total.
With more cautious defending from their opposition, Trinity once again looked comfortable on the ball – turnovers became less frequent and their shooters were pulling up without hesitation from behind the arc. Rovers’s offence continued to struggle, with closeouts from Trinity forcing near-impossible shots, and their frustration began to show both on the bench and on the court.
Trinity kept topping up their lead and finished off the game in style with another Fidgeon-Kavanaugh three-pointer. The game finished 71-54 to the home side.
Luke Rock, the side’s head coach, will undoubtedly be pleased with his team’s performance. Trinity did well to work through their shooting difficulties on the court and showed real character in coming back from a large deficit early on. Next up, Trinity take on University College Dublin Marian Basketball Club next Friday.