Multiple times throughout the year, Tattnall Square has been able to overcome its shooting slumps. But the Trojans were unable to do that again Saturday, or handle Aquinas’ San Antonio Brinson, in the first round of the GHSA Class A private school playoffs as the Trojans fell 55-37.
The Trojans end their season at 20-9, having reached the 20-win mark in their first year competing against GHSA competition.
“I told our guys, ‘There is no need to hang your head. You just had a 20-win season in your first year in GHSA,’ ” Tattnall head coach Jarvis Smith said. “We’re young, and it showed a lot during the year. But I told them that they learned something this year through this season.”
Brinson scored 22 points, forcing the Trojans to adjust their defense. That spelled bad news for Tattnall.
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“They have a special player; he is a matchup problem,” Smith said. “We tried to stay in a zone because we matched up well with him, and they made plays in the zone and forced us to come out to man, and we didn’t have an answer for him.”
The Fighting Irish (18-9) caused defensive fits for the Trojans, never allowing them to gain much traction and make a run at the lead.
Calvin Slaughter had 14 points, but no other Tattnall player scored more than seven.
“We have not shot the ball well at all this year but have had games where a couple of guys have shot it well,” Smith said. “We have not had those one or two guys who are a threat from the outside.”
Tattnall did, however, make an early charge. Trailing 15-9 early in the second quarter, a 7-2 run got the Trojans within a point, down 19-18 as the stretch was finished off by an Aubrien Kemp lay-up and free throw.
Kemp and his teammates fortunes mirrored one another from that point on. Aquinas finished the half on an 8-0 during the final three minutes, and Kemp was held scoreless in the second half, finishing with seven points. The Fighting Irish, who led 27-18 at halftime, moved ahead of a 10-point lead late in the third quarter and never looked back.
“All year long, we’ve struggled on the offensive end,” Smith said. “That run really hurt us.”