Any time two high school basketball teams from Davenport get together, the intensity is bound to be thick and unceasing. Very often, it’s the team that maintains its composure that comes out on top.
And Friday night, that was Davenport Assumption.
The Knights never trailed and never wilted in the face of an aggressive and physical Davenport Central defense as they battled to a 61-49 victory over the Blue Devils at the Assumption gym.
Trent Fitzpatrick scored 22 points, making 10 of 10 free throw attempts in the fourth quarter, and Ray Thrapp added 17 points to help the Knights (9-8 overall, 8-6 in the Mississippi Athletic Conference) pull away in the final minutes.
“Assumption and Central is always a tough rivalry,’’ Assumption coach Matt Fitzpatrick said. “I thought both teams played really hard. It got a little ugly at times but I thought our guys did a good job of showing composure down the stretch and making free throws and finishing out the game.’’
Assumption hit five of its first six shots to get off to a fast start, but it never was able to open much distance on the Blue Devils, largely because of 19 turnovers.
Central still was hanging close at 49-44 with 2 minutes, 36 seconds remaining when senior guard Nathan Tyson was called for a foul as he bumped Fitzpatrick near midcourt. Tyson protested the call vigorously, was slapped with a technical foul and had to be restrained by assistant coaches.
That was the opening the Knights needed. Fitzpatrick made four free throws as a result of that play and he and Dylan Peeters each added two more foul shots to up the lead to 13 before the Devils finally broke a 3-minute scoring with 33 seconds remaining.
“After the technical, they went on a little run and the game got away from us at that point,’’ Central coach Craig Wurdinger said. “You’ve got to live and learn, and hopefully it doesn’t happen again.’’
Trent Fitzpatrick, who made just 5 of 14 shots from the field and had a hand in several of those turnovers, admitted it wasn’t exactly a picturesque effort.
“They’re really, really athletic and very aggressive …’’ he said of Central. “When you play all 32 minutes it wears on you a little bit and they were able to get a boost of adrenaline at the end of that game. They like to hand-check and bump and you’ve just got to get through there. We had some costly turnovers at the end, but fortunately we were to just fight that one out.’’
Thrapp had a lot to do with getting the Knights off to their fast start. He knocked down three straight 3-point attempts within the first 10 minutes of the contest.
“Coach talked to us that as seniors, we need to step it up and he’s been able to step his game up tremendously,’’ Trent Fitzpatrick said of Thrapp. “He’s always been a great player but a couple of those shots that maybe he didn’t connect on last year he’s connecting on this year.’’
Tyson led Central (4-13, 3-11 MAC) with 13 points, but he and his teammates didn’t have a good shooting night, hitting just 39.2 percent from the field.
Wurdinger admitted his team, which includes just one senior in the starting lineup, is just “living and learning’’ right now. Even the one senior, Tyson, was only 5 for 15 from the field.
“I think he played a little frustrated tonight,’’ Wurdinger added. “The shots weren’t falling, but that’s part of the game.’’