The basketball edition of the private school “Coweta Clash” between The Heritage School and Trinity Christian School begins today.
The Trinity teams will host the first game between the county and GISA Region 1-AAA rivals in Sharpsburg, but for the second straight year this particular matchup will be played at John Thrower Gym on the campus of East Coweta High School. The Lady Lions of Trinity and the Lady Hawks of Heritage will get the party started at 6 p.m. today, followed by boys action at 7:30 p.m.
Organizers hope a huge crowd in the bigger Thrower Gym will make for a great atmosphere for both teams today.
Unofficially, the scorecard between the rivals is tied at 3-3, with Heritage beating Trinity in football and twice in softball and the Trinity Lady Lions defeating Heritage three times in volleyball.
On the boys side of the ledger, the Trinity Lions (10-5 overall, 3-1 region) are on a five-game losing streak and would love to break it against Heritage (6-6, 3-0). Gone are the heady days when Trinity was 10-0 and flying high early in the year; now the Lions’ mission is to get out of their funk and into the win column again.
“The game plan will be to try to force Heritage out of their routine. They are a really good team, and we have to be very good at doing the little things well,” said Lions head coach Will De La Cruz. “Our defense was what helped us early on this season, and we’ve got to get back to the basics and that should help us break the losing streak.”
Tyler Whitfield and Kasey McGinnis have been the stalwarts for Trinity so far. They will need to play their best to get a much-needed win for the Lions.
Standing in their rivals’ way will be the young Hawks, who start two freshmen this year — guard Kasen Jennings and 6-foot-9 center Ebe Dowuona — to go along with senior forward Jay Macke, the team’s steals leader and most consistent player.
Hawks head coach Mark Lieberman said Trinity is a well-coached team and the Lions play as hard as any team they have faced so far this season.
“We have to make sure our effort and energy matches theirs and do the little things well to win this game,” Lieberman said. “I don’t have to worry about our guys getting ready for this game, but we do have young guys who don’t understand the magnitude of the rivalry yet. We have to ready to play.”
Lieberman said the keys for a Hawks victory will be to play much more efficiently than they did in their 54-46 win Tuesday over Holy Spirit Prep.
“We can’t turn the ball over and on defense, we have to understand our schemes,” he said.
De La Cruz said it will be a challenge to face Dowuona.
“Ebe is a good young player, and he will be tough to get around,” he said. “We have to keep him off the boards and try to get him in foul trouble early.”
For the Trinity Lady Lions (9-4, 4-1), the key for them in the matchup with the Lady Hawks (5-1, 3-0) is to contain other players besides the Groover twins, Kara and Karlee. Kara Groover has truly been on a tear this season, but the Lady Lions cannot overlook her teammates Olivia Ayers, K.T. Heggood and Carissa Vasquez while focusing on the twins.
The Lady Lions have been led by Abby Bragg, Catherine Skebo and Celine Paul this year, and those three will have to play well for Trinity to get the win.
Lady Hawks head coach D.J. Clay said he’s looking forward to playing in an “electric environment” today.
“It will be a fun game. Playing in different venues only prepares us for the playoffs, and it’s not Trinity’s gym either, so we should be okay,” Clay said. “We definitely didn’t do anything different to prepare for Trinity. The only team that can hurt us is us; we just have to play Heritage basketball and we’ll be fine.”