SENIORITIS: Trimble County senior Robbie Brooks (above center) and Whitefield Academy’s Chad Adkisson (right) dive for a loose ball as Trimble senior Austin Hankinson (3) closes on the play during Thursday’s game in Bedford. Brooks and Hankinson hug (below) as fellow senior Ethan Merrill awaits his turn to congratulate Brooks as the three were substituted for toward the end of their final game at home. The three seniors combined to score 38 points as the Raiders won 70-48 on senior night. (Staff photos by David Campbell)
SENIORITIS: Trimble County senior Robbie Brooks (above center) and Whitefield Academy’s Chad Adkisson (right) dive for a loose ball as Trimble senior Austin Hankinson (3) closes on the play during Thursday’s game in Bedford. Brooks and Hankinson hug (below) as fellow senior Ethan Merrill awaits his turn to congratulate Brooks as the three were substituted for toward the end of their final game at home. The three seniors combined to score 38 points as the Raiders won 70-48 on senior night. (Staff photos by David Campbell)
Trimble County's seniors combined to score 38 points to lead the Raiders to a 70-48 blowout win over Whitefield Academy on basketball senior night Thursday in Bedford.

Trimble's three seniors - Rob Brooks, Austin Hankinson and Ethan Merrill - were honored before the game and the trio took over once the game started.

Merrill hit five 3-pointers en route to a game-high 19 points and Brooks chipped in 16 points. Even the little-used Hankinson, who had appeared in just 13 games prior to Thursday, knocked down a 3-pointer and played much of the game at the point.

All in all, it was the perfect way for the Raiders to close out their best regular season in a decade.

"I couldn't have drawn it up any better," Trimble coach John Leep III said. "Whitefield is a good team but they just ran into us on a bad night. Our guys were hyped up because of the senior night and they really wanted to send these seniors out with a win."

Trimble (15-10) trailed only once in the game and that was in the opening minutes.

Big 6-foot-5 freshman center Michael Dunaway scored the Raiders' first four points then turned the game over to the seniors who put it away.

Hankinson drilled a 3-pointer to put Trimble ahead for good and Brooks followed with three-straight points for a quick 10-6 lead.

Sophomore Dusty Wyssbrod scored seven-straight points to key a 9-0 run as the Raiders went ahead 21-11 late in the first quarter.

Whitefield (9-18) hung around throughout the second quarter and even made a late 6-0 run to trail only 36-29 at halftime. But Trimble caught fire at the start of the third quarter and did not cool off until the closing seconds.

Dunaway and Brooks started the second half with four-straight free throws. Dunaway then hit a layup and Merrill followed with a 3-pointer that pushed Trimble's lead to 45-29.

The Raiders ended up outscoring the Wildcats 17-2 at the start of the third period to put the game way. Merrill hit another 3-pointer during the run as Trimble went ahead 53-31.

Trimble's lead reached as much as 31 (70-39) before Leep began substituting and brought his seniors out one-by-one to be recognized. Whitefield scored the final nine points of the game.

Along with Merrill and Brooks, Dunaway scored 12 points for the Raiders. Leighton Taylor added eight points.

Whitefield had 10 different players score in the game but none broke double-digits. James Dailey led the Wildcats with eight points off the bench.

Trimble County committed only eight turnovers and was 10-of-12 from the free-throw line in an impressive all-around effort. But while Leep was pleased with everybody who played, he was especially proud of his three seniors.

"We got a real big night from Austin Hankinson. He hasn't played much this season and he made me look bad tonight," Leep said. "I'm super proud of him. It just shows the kind of kid he is. He showed up to practice every day. He knew he wasn't going to play much. He would do wind sprints and dive on the floor, be on the scout team. I talk to the guys all the time about when you get the opportunity, what are you going to do with it? He did exactly that tonight. He's a role model.

"Ethan Merrill had a monster game tonight. He's done that his whole career," Leep added. "Robbie Brooks, I can't say enough about him. He's our leader. We go where he goes and a lot of the success for this team is attributed to him and the work that he has put in on and off the court."

The victory was Trimble's 15th of the season and marks the first time the Raiders have had a winning campaign since 2001 when they won 17 games and made the All "A" Classic State Finals.

Trimble now sets its sights on the 29th District Tournament which begins Tuesday at Oldham County. The fourth-seeded Raiders will face No. 1 seed South Oldham (19-6) in the opening round at 7:30 p.m.

South beat Trimble 90-42 in early December and Leep knows that next week's game will be just as tough, especially considering that the Raiders will be without the services of sophomore Evan Long, the team's leading scorer.

"(South) shoots the three really well, they guard really well. It's going to take a big-time effort for us," Leep said. "But like I told the guys, nobody believed that this team could be 15-10. Nobody believes, except the people in our lockerroom, that we can go down there and win. If the kids believe it, anything is possible."

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THURSDAY'S BOYS GAME

at Bedford, Ky.

TRIMBLE CO. 70, WHITEFIELD ACADEMY 48



WHITEFIELD 13 16 6 13 - 48

TRIMBLE CO. 21 15 21 13 - 70



WHITEFIELD (9-18) - Dailey 8, (g)Johnson 6, (g)Patterson 6, (c)Jackson 6, Ramey 6, (f)Adkisson 5, (f)Getzin 4, Buse 4, Steele 2, J. Herrod 1.

TRIMBLE CO. (15-10) - (g)Merrill 19, (g)Brooks 16, (c)Dunaway 12, Taylor 8, Wyssbrod 7, (g)Young 5, (g)Hankinson 3, Creech 0, Blanton 0, James 0, Rexroat 0, Craig 0.



3-Point Goals - Whitefield 2 (Adkisson 1, Dailey 1), Trimble Co. 8 (Merrill 5, Hankinson 1, Brooks 1, Wyssbrod 1). Turnovers - Whitefield 11, Trimble Co. 8. Total Fouls - Whitefield 12, Trimble Co. 15. Free Throws - Whitefield 14-20, Trimble Co. 10-12. Fouled Out - None. Next Game - Whitefield hosts Fort Knox today. Trimble Co. faces South Oldham in the opening round of the 29th District tournament at Oldham Co. Tuesday.