The varsity boys basketball team returned home on Tuesday night to take on the Steward School Spartans. This game had big implications for both the Tidewater Conference of Independent Schools (TCIS) and Virginia Independent Schools Athletic Association (VISAA) seeding as the Trojans entered the game at 13-4 (1-0 TCIS) and their opponent came in at 13-2 (2-1 TCIS).
The Trojans came out from the opening tip looking to control the game defensively and the start could not have been drawn up any better. The Trojans held their opponent to just 4 points in the opening quarter as they caused trouble by jumping in the passing lanes to create steals leading to points on the other end. By the end of the quarter, the Trojans were up 16-4.
The second quarter saw the Trojans continue to grow their lead. The Trojans' defense drew two big charges against the Spartans 6'11" center which forced him out of the game with four first-half fouls. Marcus Banks '21 caused problems on both ends of the court and his 14 first half points were a big part of the Trojans' 33-17 halftime lead.
The Trojans did not slow down in the third quarter as they continued to attack on both ends of the court. A quarter-ending buzzer-beater by Jaylin Stewart '19 grew the Trojans' lead to 52-24 in a game that had all the makings of a blowout.
However, the Spartans did not go down without a fight. A much more aggressive attack by Steward in the fourth quarter caused some issues for the Trojans and the Spartans closed the deficit quickly. After a bevy of late three-pointers by Steward, the Walsingham lead was down to just 3 points with under a minute to go in the game. When the Spartans cut the deficit to just one possession, it was Walsingham's Henry Kalnius who stepped up and made the big play, scoring against the press while drawing the foul to build the Trojans' lead back up to 5 points. A few last-second attempts came up empty for the Spartans and the Trojans were able to hold on for the 64-58 win.
Jaylin Stewart led the Trojans offensively, putting up 25 points while adding three rebounds, three assists, and three steals. Marcus Banks finished with 18 points, six rebounds, and four steals. Henry Kalnius added 13 points and Sam Jones '19 contributed six points with four rebounds, three assists, and three steals. Braden Exton '19 rounded out the scoring with two points and five rebounds.
The Trojans are now 14-4 on the season and 2-0 in the TCIS. Next up for the Trojans is a trip to face TCIS opponent Norfolk Christian on Thursday, Jan. 17, as part of a triple-header with the JV boys and varsity girls teams.
Trojans earn #1 ranking in initial VISAA poll
The first poll of the season was released on Tuesday afternoon and the Trojans' impressive start to the season had not gone unnoticed by the voters.
In their first season as a member of VISAA Division III, the Trojans opened the poll as the top-ranked team. The Trojans are one of eight TCIS teams to be ranked in the VISAA polls. These polls will continue to be voted on every week until the official state tournament bracket is announced on Sunday, Feb. 24.