Walton-Verona dominated Trimble County 81-40 in a regular season matchup played on Dec. 5 but the rematch on Thursday night was more of an accurate account of the caliber team Trimble can be, even if the outcome was a second loss to the Bearcats this year.

Walton (12-2) finally pulled away in the second half to the tune of a 69-54 win in the second semifinal of the All “A” Eighth Region Tournament, but Trimble never backed down from the bigger opponent. The Raiders battled the entire way and made one of Kentucky’s top 2A programs earn the victory in every area of the game.

“We went from losing by 41 points to losing by 15 points,” Trimble head coach Ron Couch said. “We know now what it takes to play with a team like Walton. We are still getting to where we need to be in terms of putting a whole game together. But we are starting to fight and we are heading in the right direction. We’re not backing down and we are realizing that we are a good team and that we can play with some teams. We just keep going and keep working hard.”

Walton’s 6-foot-10 Xavier commit Dieonte Miles was a handful for Trimble’s defense the entire night but early on the rest of Walton’s roster struggled from the field and allowed the Raiders a lead in the first quarter.

While Miles opened the game with a dunk and scored six points in the quarter, the rest of the Bearcats scored just five points. Trimble shook off the dunk and took a 4-2 lead on back-to-back baskets by Grant Weaver and Reece Webster. Walton briefly led 6-4 after buckets by Ethan Brook and Tyler Schrader but Trimble finished the quarter on an 11-5 run. Weaver scored his fourth point on a shot followed by a Ben Stevens 3-pointer and two points off the bench by Beau Turner.

Evan Stevens scored three points in the final minute and Trimble led 15-11. The Raiders continued to stay out in front for the opening two minutes of the second period as well, holding a 17-16 advantage after made field goal by Webster but just as hot as Trimble was in the first quarter, a cold streak plagued the home team the rest of the first half and Walton slowly started taking over.

Miles scored six more points in the second quarter and his first shot of the period put Walton up for good at 20-17 with 4:39 left. His final four points of the half stretched the lead to 25-17. The Bearcats, who led at halftime 27-19, went on a 16-4 run in the period.

“It goes back to us rushing some shots,” Couch said of the second quarter. “Instead of coming out of the trap and getting a good open look, we started rushing instead of finding a better look. When we are patient we get some good looks and we knock down open shots. That’s what it came down to was patience on offense. We did a really good job of it in the first quarter but that second quarter when we rushed really allowed Walton back into the game.”

The Raiders’ patience returned in the third quarter but Walton’s hot-shooting remained, building up a double-digit lead for the first time in the game.

Trimble got the deficit to five points on Logan Clifford’s 3-pointer but the Bearcats went up 35-22 on eight straight points by Garrett Jones. The lead shot up to 18 points towards the end of the third quarter and early in the fourth, Walton held a 58-38 advantage with 6:24 to go in the game.

To the Raiders’ credit, that’s as high as the lead would go and Trimble finished out the game continuing to fight, outscoring the Bearcats 14-9 in the final five minutes. Webster scored four points and Weaver scored six points. Evan Stevens and Ben Stevens each added a bucket each during the run.

“It’s just about effort and fight,” noted Couch. “I thought we played well towards the end and we had some guys step up. It was a much better effort than when we played that team in December.”

Webster led Trimble with 18 points, 14 of those points coming in the second half. Weaver, who was instrumental in the fourth quarter run, scored 8 of his 13 points in the second half.

Miles, who scored six points in the first go-around with Trimble, led all scorers on Thursday with 19 points. Jones scored 13 points in the second half en route to 18 points and Ethan Brook scored 15 points.

Trimble (6-9) hosts Gallatin County on Monday.

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ALL “A” CLASSIC 8TH REGION

Semifinals

at Bedford, Ky.

WALTON-VERONA 69, TRIMBLE CO. 54



Walton 11 16 25 17 — 69

Trimble Co. 15 4 17 18 — 54



WALTON (12-2) — (c)Miles 19, (g)Jones 18, (g)Brook 15, (f)Schrader 6, Watson 5, Schultz 5, Bromwell 1, (f)Grubbs 0.

TRIMBLE CO. (6-9) — (g)Webster 18, (f)Weaver 13, (g)E. Stevens 9, (f)B. Stevens 7, (f)Clifford 3, Turner 2, Ogburn 2, Kunselman 0, Cissell 0, Blackaby 0, Long 0, Petty 0, Haller 0, Jennings 0.



3-Point Goals — Walton 5 (Jones 4, Watson 1), Trimble Co. 6 (Weaver 3, B. Stevens 1, Clifford 1, Webster 1). Total Fouls — Walton 10, Trimble Co. 16. Free Throws — Walton 5-10, Trimble Co. 6-10. Fouled Out — Trimble Co.: Turner.