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By Sara Welch | Staff Writer
Trinity ended Mogadore's 14-game winning streak and its season on Monday following a 55-52 victory over the Wildcats in a Barberton Division IV District semifinal game.
"I thought we competed hard, and we had our chances," Mogadore head coach Russ Swartz said. "We've played against different competition all year. Their senior guards took over and dominated when they had to and that's why they won the game."
Cory Haire finished the night as the high scorer for Trinity with 22 points. Jake Gerrick contributed 16 points for the Trojans and both guards came through for Trinity when they need it the most.
Gerrick made his first big shot with 12 seconds left in the first quarter, draining the 3-pointer that would give the Trojans a two-point advantage going into the second quarter.
However, it was a 3-pointer from Mogadore senior Casey Ruppel (14 points) that claimed the lead for the Wildcats before halftime.
Aside from an inability to get to the foul line, Mogadore's offensive effort wasn't holding them back. As a team, the Wildcats made 21 shots from the field with nine of those behind the arc. Trinity made 18 shots from the field with seven of them counting as 3-pointers. Mogadore only made one empty trip to the line, while Trinity shot 12-for-15 at the stripe.
However, the real problem seemed to be Mogadore's inconsistent defensive success.
"I haven't been happy with our individual defense at times this year and team defense where we have to help and our close-outs," Swartz said. "It was evident tonight. Our weakness in that area really showed. They have really good guard play and they exposed us."
At the beginning of the fourth quarter, the Wildcats got behind by seven points before Jarad Dunn finally scored Mogaodre's first basket with 5:16 left to play.
Following a 3-pointer from Zeddie Pollock and of couple baskets from Dominik Pizzino, Mogadore had regained the lead.
"I thought after we came back from double-digits down, we were in good shape starting the fourth quarter and then we made a run and actually took a one-point lead, but again we just didn't do a good job defensively and their senior guards made the plays," Swartz said.
Hanging on until the end of the game and lagging behind five points with 25.6 to play, Ruppel hit a huge 3-pointer to give the Wildcats one last chance. However, forced to foul, the Wildcats sent the Trojans to the line, where the converted on two perfect trips that sealed the win and advanced them into Thursday's district final against Richmond Heights, which defeated Kidron Central Christian 44-41 on Monday in overtime.
Pollock finished as Mogadore's high-scorer with 19 points.