TAMPA — The plan for Bishop McLaughlin was to key on Carrollwood Day guard Mike Trigg, a big, muscled-up 6-foot-4 force, who came into Tuesday night’s game averaging 22 points, eight rebounds and 4.5 assists.
“We were going to put three guys on him if that’s what it took,” Bishop McLaughlin coach Derrick Sharp said. “We were also going to take it to him on defense because he reaches a lot, and try to get him in foul trouble.”
Mission accomplished. In a big way.
Bishop McLaughlin not only held Trigg to 20 points, but the Hurricanes took the Southern California commit out of the game with five fouls with almost seven minutes remaining. The Hurricanes, meantime, had their high-flying, dunk-machine offense on full display, ultimately running away with an 84-66 victory in a Class 3A region semifinal.
Bishop McLaughlin (20-6) moves on to host Friday night’s region final against Fort Myers Canterbury, which defeated Community School of Naples 56-40. The winner of that game moves on to next week’s state semifinals in Lakeland.
If the Hurricanes play like they did on Tuesday, Canterbury (18-11) might want to take heed.
Bishop McLaughlin jumped to a 22-11 lead over CDS in the first quarter, then extended its advantage to 16 points midway through the second quarter.
CDS (18-5) fought back behind Trigg and forward Tony Livingston (14 points), and cut the gap to five points heading into intermission.
To start the second half, however, Bishop Mclaughlin guard Emanuel Sharp (game-high 28 points) hit a couple of quick 3-pointers and forward Dillon Mitchell (24 points) threw down a couple of thunderous dunks. The next thing CDS knew, the Hurricanes’ lead was back up to 13.
Midway through the third quarter, Trigg had also picked up his fourth foul, which tremendously boosted the Hurricanes’ spirits.
“We could tell our play was getting into (Trigg’s) head,” Emanuel Sharp said. “In the first half we let (Trigg) bully us, but in the second half (after also switching to a two-three zone defense) we played him better.”