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Trimble Punches Ticket to Another District Finals Appearance

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ATHENS, Ohio – The Trimble Tomcats, better known as the “Convo Cats” this time of year, made their return to the Convocation Center on Tuesday night for their District semi-finals matchup against the eleventh-seeded South Webster Jeeps.

The Tomcats’ experience on the big stage proved to be the difference-maker as they jumped out to an early 40-20 lead in the first half before coming out with the 68-38 victory.

After Trimble jumped out to a 17-13 lead after the first quarter, Trimble went on a 23-7 run to close out the opening half up 40-20. Blake Guffey and Brayden Weber found their offensive rhythm from the start as they combined for 27 points in the opening half.

The Tomcats didn’t let up in the second half and as a result, they extended their lead to 30 by the end of the game.

It was a strong effort by Trimble from start to finish as they dominated every aspect of the game especially on the offensive end. Trimble was able to have their way on that end as they could push the ball whenever or settle down and run their ball movement-heavy offense.

The Jeeps had little to no answer as the Tomcats’ lockdown defense took away high quality chances from the Jeeps and made the South Webster offense look unorganized and isolation-heavy at times. In those one-on-one matchups Trimble had no trouble controlling the Jeeps’ players and limiting any inside looks.

“I don’t believe I have ever been in a game where we had a 52-16 rebounding advantage in the game,” Trimble head coach Howie Caldwell said after the game.

The advantage was very prevalent as the Tomcats created second and sometimes even third-chance opportunities on the offensive end and limited the Jeeps offense to only one chance on defense.

Sawyer Koons (24) drives the ball during the game against South Webster on March 3, 2020. The Trimble Tomcats beat the South Webster Jeeps 68-38. (Abigail Dean | WOUB)
Trimble players cheer on their teammates during the game against South Webster on March 3, 2020. The Trimble Tomcats beat the South Webster Jeeps 68-38.(Abigail Dean | WOUB)
(Abigail Dean | WOUB)
Blake Guffey (22) looks to pass the ball during the game against South Webster on March 3, 2020. The Trimble Tomcats beat the South Webster Jeeps 68-38.(Abigail Dean | WOUB)
Cameron Kittle dribble the ball down the court during the game against South Webster on March 3, 2020. The Trimble Tomcats beat the South Webster Jeeps 68-38. (Abigail Dean | WOUB)

Guffey led the Tomcats in scoring with 22 points and added a team-high 14 rebounds on Tuesday as he continues to add to his impressive season.

“Blake (Guffey) has grown so much this year. It is unbelievable. He’s an exceptional player and I don’t care if he is only a sophomore. He can flat out play,” Caldwell said. “I’m glad he’s a Trimble Tomcat.”

Brayden Weber also had an impressive outing, adding 21 points and five assists. His younger brother, Tyler, has improved his play recently, and he added to it on Tuesday night with a 10-point performance, making him the third starter to score in double figures.

Overall, the Tomcats’ play has taken that next step from “good” to “great” since the regular season has ended. Trimble is playing their best basketball at the right time and each individual player has taken that next step to put their game at the next level.

With this win, the Tomcats earn win number 21 on the year and will look to get number 22 on Saturday night as they take on seventh-seeded Leesburg Fairfield for the district finals.

Leesburg defeated New Boston Glenwood, the team that knocked out the Tomcats in the 2019 district finals, on Tuesday night 71-55. The Tomcats will look to cut down the nets in the Convocation Center on Saturday night, something they wish they could have done last year.

“After football season, these kids are used to the big games. Last year, we were sick heading into the district finals,” Caldwell said. “We aren’t sick this year and if Leesburg beats us, they’re going to play a heck of a game because I know our kids are going to play a tremendous game.”