The Trojan basketball team continued their red-hot play this week, first defeating Otero to qualify as the third seed in the south, and then eliminating Lamar on Saturday to move on to Sheridan, Wyoming for the elite eight of Region IX.
On Tuesday night Scott Gym was rocking as the Rattlers from OJC came to town. TSJC fell behind and trailed by as much as ten with less than three minutes remaining. The Trojans turned up the defensive pressure at that point and cut the 59-49 lead down to 59-58 with :40 seconds still on the clock. The teams traded turnovers and Otero found themselves at the free throw line with :15 seconds to play. Goy Wang grabbed the rebound off of the Rattler miss and got it to Issac Essein on a break down the right side, Essein handed it to Aleck Sharma who found Wang wide open at the top of the key. Wang drilled the 3-pointer for the Trojan 61-59 victory. In the game the Trojans survived dismal shooting but got the win through their tenacious defensive effort. Wang had 16 points to lead the team and David Muenkat added 15 points and eight rebounds. BJ Shabazz pulled down ten rebounds and Essein had three steals.
On Saturday evening the Trojans hosted Lamar in the first round of the Region IX playoffs. TSJC had a horrid start to the game and found themselves down 24-9 after eight minutes of play. Coach Mike Folda's troops finally settled in and started getting rebounds on the defensive side and hitting shots on the other side. Slowly they closed the gap until an Ian Kelly jumper put Trinidad in the lead 35-34 with less than two minutes left in the half. The Trojans would not trail again, going on for the 89-77 win. Essein had a giant game, scoring 28 points, pulling in ten rebounds and dishing out five assists. Kelly was big underneath with 21 points and TJ Lucero had a great game off the bench dumping in 16 points.
The Trojans will next face #6 ranked Casper College who enters the tournament as the number two seed from the north with an impressive 28-2 record. The Region IX Tournament will be played in Sheridan, Wyoming. TSJC's opening game is set for Thursday at 1pm.