GRAFTON, W.Va. — Joel Robertson is a firm believer the key to Trinity’s offensive success stems from the Warriors’ ability to penetrate and pass.
In Thursday night’s matchup against Philip Barbour, the Warriors had plenty of productive drive-and-kick plays and Robertson was the biggest beneficiary. The 6-foot-3 senior connected on seven 3-pointers and poured in a game-high 35 points to lead Trinity to a 74-55 victory against Philip Barbour in the Sam Bord Memorial Tournament.
“Anytime that we run a play where we get the ball in the lane and kick it out for a 3, it’s usually pretty wet. We ran a lot of those plays and my teammates did a good job of getting in the lane and kicking it out,” Robertson said. “I happened to be open a few times and just got set and knocked them down.”
The Warriors (2-0) advanced to Friday’s tournament championship against tournament host Grafton.
Robertson scored seven first-quarter points, allowing Trinity to hold a 15-10 lead through the first 8 minutes. In the second quarter, he seemingly took the game over, scoring 14 points, though plenty of his Warrior teammates helped chip in to build a 42-17 halftime lead.
With the Colts (0-1) trailing 20-15, Trinity got a 3 from Briston Bennett, followed by layups from Josh Hart and Fletcher Hartsock that stretched the lead to 27-15.
The Colts never trailed by single digits again, and instead Trinity continued to add to its lead. A conventional three-point play by Robertson made it 30-15 3:54 before halftime, and Robertson made three 3s in the late stages of the opening half that allowed the Warriors to take the 25-point lead into halftime.
“We went back and watched the game their game against West Fairmont last year in the state semis and we think we’re pretty athletic and long,” Trinity coach John Fowkes said. “When we watched that game, we knew pressure would significantly bug them. If we pushed the pace they were gassed, and in that second quarter they were gassed.”
Robertson picked up where he left off to start the second half, making a trey to stretch his team’s lead to 28. Philip Barbour responded with its best stretch of the game, getting five straight points from Trent Tallman to spark a 9-1 run that cut the Colts’ deficit to 20.
But Trinity maintained at least an 18-point advantage throughout the rest of the third quarter and Robertson began the fourth quarter with consecutive treys to stretch the lead to 62-36.
Robertson made 12-of-20 field-goal attempts and also led the Warriors with seven rebounds. He’s now scored 60 points in the first two games of the season.
“He’s a great athlete. He can play the game and you saw that,” Fowkes said. “He can take it to the rim or shoot the 3. He’s hard to guard. They just didn’t have an answer. They went zone, they tried to go man and whatever they went, we had an answer for.”
Bennett was the Warriors’ only other double figure scorer with 10 points, while Mark Spruill scored nine off the bench.
Jed Hawkins led PB with 12 points and Logan Ball added 11 in a reserve role, but 6-4 senior Levi MacAdam was held to four points.
“I thought that was the key to the game,” Fowkes said. “We completely took him out of it.”
Trinity finished 26-of-51 from the field for 51 percent shooting and made 12 3s.
The Colts will face Pocahontas County in Friday’s consolation game.