Toledo — It’s the start of 2022 and we got to commemorate the beginning of a new year with a Top 10 1A pairing in Toledo between #6 North Douglas and #7 Trinity Lutheran. Both teams entered with solid resumes and records, playing up classes in efforts to pick up experience that would help them later this season. In this edition, it was a fully lopsided affair that got going after a scrappy first quarter. One team figured it out, the other simply couldn’t solve the problem.
The game started off pretty evenly, with North Douglas taking an early advantage. Trinity Lutheran would fight their way back into the game, taking advantage of free throw chances and North Douglas miscues. The first session was better put as a scrappy affair, with bodies flying on the floor and neither team finding their rhythm on either side of the ball. North Douglas had holes in the press and found themselves in foul trouble, while Trinity Lutheran struggled to score outside of transition or push offense. With the Warriors plagued by fouls, North Douglas decided to go all-in and go with a full-blown, unprecedented defensive attack on the Saints, challenging them at every look, pass, shot, and anything in-between. They kept up this tactic for the entire match, and it ultimately was the major difference maker.
After the opening quarter, North Douglas and their defensive attack did what it does best, convert turnovers into buckets. Trinity Lutheran struggled to cross mid-court, frequently turning the ball over in the backcourt and giving the Warriors easy buckets. When the Saints would cross mid-court, they would either turn it over in the set offense, throw the ball out of bounds, or somehow find their way into the post for a bucket. This trend plagued them as North Douglas jumped to a 30-14 lead at the half. The second half was more of the same, with the Warriors pressure turning into baskets and Trinity Lutheran unable to generate anything significant on offense. It ultimately turned the affair into a blowout, with North Douglas cruising 59-25 over Trinity Lutheran in a statement making game for the Warriors.
Trinity Lutheran: This game was a sobering one for the Saints, who were faced with a challenge that they hadn’t had yet. They struggled in every facet of the game offensively, looking completely lost on how to handle the press pressure. This ultimately defines the entire observation, as their defense wasn’t able to be properly assessed with the number of turnovers in play from their offense. Further, their offense could only score via transition, broken press play, or the occasional inside bucket. I’d be hitting the gym on Monday and grinding on how to beat a full court press.
North Douglas: A statement has been made by the Warriors! Their defense was completely dominant, rolling out a blowout victory behind their defensive attack that was churning out turnovers like butter. They have proven their legitimacy as a 1A threat, but how will their success translate to the best teams in 1A? They didn’t have much work on the set offense, nor much of a sample on their half-court defense either. While performances like this are eye raising, they also make things cloudy in other aspects. Time will tell for the Warriors where they will end up!