Wetumpka’s Michael Bass knocked down two free throws with less than a second remaining on the clock then sealed the game with a block to help Wetumpka finish off a 64-62 victory in Monday’s season opener at Trinity.
Wetumpka (1-0) took its first lead of the game when Nate Rogers knocked down a 3-pointer late in the opening quarter and it did not relinquish that lead for more than 24 minutes on the court. Wetumpka built its lead to as many as nine points in the third quarter but Trinity would not go away and the Wildcats made their move in the final frame.
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Trinity (1-1) was down four players who are still working with the football team to prepare for the quarterfinals of the state playoffs. That did not stop them from putting up a fight though and the Wildcats ended up pushing into the lead by knocking down a free throw with just over a minute to go in the game.
Wetumpka quickly answered with a 3-pointer from Austin Johnson but Trinity leveled the score with two more free throws. That set up Bass to take the final shot but he was fouled with 0.9 on the clock and the rest was never in doubt. After calmly hitting the first free throw, Bass looked toward the Trinity student section with a finger over his lips to quiet the home crowd.
“It definitely feels good to be on the winning side of one of those games,” Wetumpka coach Byron Gaskin said. “Mike is in the gym every day working on free throws. I wasn’t worried about that.”
Bass got the scoring started for Wetumpka with a 3-pointer but did not score again until the late free throws.
Trinity got off to a hot start, scoring the game’s first seven points and forcing a timeout from Gaskin with the score 9-3 less than three minutes into the game. That’s when Rogers came off the bench, providing a spark on both sides of the court in his first varsity game.
Rogers, a freshman, scored consecutive layups to cut into the lead before putting Wetumpka ahead with his first 3-pointer of the game. He finished with a game-high 19 points and contributed six rebounds and five steals while bringing plenty of energy in a season opener.
“I just told him before the game and at halftime to keep attacking,” Gaskin said. “That’s what he’s good at.”
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Wetumpka used every player who was available Monday night, seeing 13 different players get on the court. Lacorey Marshall finished with nine points in his first start at point guard while D’Marcus Peake and Robert Rose each added seven points off the bench. Wetumpka got 43 points from its bench players in the win.