The Trojans took a 20-13 first-quarter lead. (photo/Race Archibald)

By Race Archibald

The return of regular Trojan starters Caleb Hurst and Cade Landrus were not enough as Charleston dropped its fourth game in a row, 61-52, Saturday night in Charleston.

This was the first time the Trojans have eclipsed 50 points since beating Sullivan 81-49. In the six recent wins, Charleston has averaged 48.8 points.

Charleston (9-14) started the game strong, hitting four 3-pointers to lead 20-13 at the end of the first quarter. However, they only scored seven points in the second quarter as Tri-Valley fought its way back to cut the deficit to one point at the end of the half.

“We did a better job switching on defense,” Tri-Valley coach Todd Kagel said. “We were able to control their shots and the looks they had.”

The Vikings (16-8) outscored Charleston 21-14 in the third quarter to lead 47-41. Their lead would never get below five.

“They got some easy baskets and rebounds,” Charleston coach Brad Oakley said. “They were able to close it in whenever we didn’t hit some shots.”

Said Kagel: “We got a five to six point lead and then we went in to protect the ball mode.”

Tri-Valley guard Braden Zenor scored a game-high 24 points, including 14 in the second half.

Charleston guard Luke Bell hit four 3-pointers to lead the Trojans in scoring with 12. Hurst and Landrus combined for 10 points in their return.

“I thought he (Hurst) played hard and played well considering he hasn’t done anything basketball-related for the last four days,” Oakley said.

Charleston will head to Effingham on Tuesday night with a more battle-tested squad.

“Burgess and Braun stepped up,” Oakley said. “Having a chance to start last night and tonight, that’s good experience for them.”

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Tri-Valley1313211461
Charleston207141152

CHARLESTON: Bell 4 0-0 12, Miller 5 0-2 10, Braun 2 3-4 7, Landrus 2 1-2 6, Bickford 2 2-2 6, Burgess 2 0-0 5, Hurst 2 0-0 4. Totals 19 5-10 43. 3-pointers – Bell 4, Miller 2, Landrus 1, Burgess 1.