By Ryan Menzie
Signal Sports Writer
The starting center for the Trinity Classical Academy Knights (15-4, 6-2) in the 2021 season, 6-foot-5 Will Yumbar, accounted for a majority of the team’s rebounds and paint presence. His absence was felt against the bigger Faith Baptist Contenders (9-10, 6-2) on Monday.
With no Knights player being taller than 6-foot-3, the 6-foot-6-inch Contenders center Tracy Bryden, who finished with 16 points and 11 rebounds, made his presence known in a 71-57 league matchup loss for the Knights.
“They’re a great team,” said Knights head coach Daniel Hebert. “They have size, ball handlers, shooters and are well coached. Our guys played with a lot of heart and fought out there so we’re proud of that, but hopefully we can get them back next time.”
The Knights kept it close in the first half, being down 35-26, but the Contenders’ size and shooting ability would soon wear down the Knights, who finished the third quarter down 55-40. The Knights got outscored every quarter until the fourth quarter, when they outscored the Contenders by one.
Despite the loss, the Knights have a lot to be proud of as they remained tied for second place in the Heritage League and can look to this game to gameplan once they get a second chance to play the Contenders on Jan. 27.
Leading the charge for the Knights was Hunter Gillman, finishing with 12 points and four rebounds. John Cervantes-King finished with 11 points and five rebounds and Nathan Thomas finished with 11 points, five rebounds and three assists.
“We got lots of shooters so we told them to shoot the ball,” said Hebert in response to his efforts to spark a comeback. “They started shooting more in tighter-window shots. When you play against good teams like Faith Baptist and Valley Torah, you gotta shoot tight windows. We got those shots up late in the game that we didn’t get early in the game so hopefully we come out next time and get those shots up early.”