INTENSITY: Trimble County head coach John Leep III (right) makes a point to his players in a fourth quarter time-out during Wednesday’s 57-48 loss to Walton-Verona in the All “A” Classic Eighth Region Tournament at Williamstown, Ky. Assistant coach Michael Stewart listens in (left). (Staff photo by David Hill)
INTENSITY: Trimble County head coach John Leep III (right) makes a point to his players in a fourth quarter time-out during Wednesday’s 57-48 loss to Walton-Verona in the All “A” Classic Eighth Region Tournament at Williamstown, Ky. Assistant coach Michael Stewart listens in (left). (Staff photo by David Hill)
WILLIAMSTOWN, Ky. - The Trimble County Raiders tried everything in its arsenal to avenge a Jan. 2 90-56 loss to Walton-Verona when the two teams met Wednesday in the opening round of the Kentucky All "A" Classic Eighth Region Tournament.

And it almost worked.

The Raiders battled to within a bucket of the Bearcats well into the fourth quarter before late turnovers and missed free throws allowed Walton-Verona to escape with a 57-48 win to advance to Friday's semifinals against Carroll County.

Walton-Verona's quickness on defense and strong passing were hurdles Trimble had to deal with the entire night but the Raiders still overcame a defensive mismatch at the start to make a game of it in the end.

"We were right there in the end," said Trimble County coach John Leep III. "One or two plays could have made the difference."

According to Leep, his decision to utilize a 2-3 zone defense early in the contest was as costly as anything to the Raiders as the Bearcats raced out to a 7-0 lead and led by as many as 14 points in the first quarter.

"That was a mistake on my part and I'll take the blame," Leep said. "I think things could have been different if we had had a better start."

Walton-Verona's Tanner Moeves found the zone much to his liking and scored 10 of his game-high 22 points in the first quarter. At one point, the Bearcats led 19-5 before the Raiders switch to a man-to-man stared curbing the tide.

Trimble scored on a pair of free throws each from Andrew Young and Michael Dunaway late in the opening quarter to trail 19-9 at the break.

Robbie Brooks scored a pair of baskets early in the second quarter cut the Bearcats' lead to six, but Walton-Verona answered to build that margin back to a dozen at 27-15 on a pair of 3-pointers by Chad Lucas and Kyle Daugherty

Much like the first quarter, Trimble scored the final four points before halftime - on baskets by Brooks and Dunaway - to go into halftime trailing 27-19.

Walton-Verona held about a nine-point cushion through much of the third period until the Raiders made another run - capped by a 3-pointer by Evan Long - to pull to within four at 36-32.

The Bearcats once again re-grouped with Alex Taulbee draining a buzzer-beating 3-pointer for a 39-32 lead going into the final quarter and Moeves hitting another trey at the start of the fourth to put the Bearcats up by 10

The Raiders started a final comeback at that point - albeit a rally that was hampered by missed free throws - when Long hit a basket with 4:25 remaining and Merrill followed moments later with a three-point play to narrow the gap to 45-41.

With Trimble needing stops to complete the comeback, the Bearcats refused to be denied, scoring enough to build a 49-43 lead on a basket and two free throws before a basket by Brooks and a steal and a basket by Long trimmed the Walton lead to just two points at 49-47 with less than a minute remaining.

But just when the Raider rally looked to get over the hump, missed free throws and a pair of turnovers shot down the comeback in the final stretch and Walton-Verona made its free throws to seal the win.

"I think nerves played a big part in our missed free throws tonight," Leep said. "Walton also missed some free throws. Maybe it was the added pressure of the Class A Tournament."

Leep said he was proud of his team's effort against a team that has routed his Raiders by 34 points just days earlier.

"We were exhausted in the huddle," he said. "It was like a marathon. We got it to within two points and tried to cause some chaos out there. Unfortunately, we missed a pair of free throws and they took advantage."

Trimble was 15-of-24 at the foul stripe for the game

Trimble (10-6) will now have the rest of the week and weekend off before returning to action on Monday at Walden.

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ALL "A" CLASSIC 8TH REGION

Opening Round

at Williamstown, Ky.

WALTON-VERONA 57, TRIMBLE CO, 48



TRIMBLE CO. 9 10 13 16 - 48

WALTON-VERONA 19 8 12 18 - 57



TRIMBLE CO. (10-6) - (g)Brooks 17, (g)Long 12, (f)Merrill 7, (f)Dunaway 6, Wyssbrod 4, (g)Young 2, Hankinson 0, Creech 0, Taylor 0, Payton 0.

WALTON-VERONA (7-12) - (g)T. Moeves 22, (g)Lucas 14, (g)Sougherty 12, (g)Taulbee 9, (c)Tilley 0, B. Moeves 0, Smith 0, Thompson 0, Hoffa 0, Catlett 0.



3-Point Goals - Trimble Co. 1 (Long 1), Walton-Verona 7 (T. Moeves 3, Dougherty 2, Taulbee 1, Lucas 1). Total Fouls - Trimble Co. 19, Walton-Verona 20. Free Throws - Trimble Co. 15-24, Walton-Verona 12-17. Fouled Out - Trimble Co.: Long. Walton-Verona: Taulbee. Technical Fouls - Walton-Verona: Dougherty. Next Game - Trimble Co. visits Walden Monday. Walton-Verona faces Carroll Co. in the All "A" Classic 8th Region semifinals Friday at Williamstown.