Maurice Trotter has been like manna for Highland Community College's basketball team this season. He was not so helpful to hometown Haskell on Wednesday night.
Trotter, a Lawrence High product, led all scorers with 24 points as the Scotties pulled away for a 90-74 win at Coffin Complex.
Trotter signed with Dodge City CC out of LHS, and became part of a program in turmoil. After last season, coach Brad Underwood was fired, and former KU graduate assistant Chad Wintz took over. Of all the freshmen on last year's Dodge City team, only Trotter was asked to return.
Trotter chose, instead, to transfer to Highland, where:
a) he was comfortable with coach Neil Elliott, who recruited Trotter heavily out of high school;
b) he could play immediately rather than sitting a year as he would have had to do at another Jayhawk Conference school; and
c) four starters and 80 percent of its scoring from 1992-93 had exhausted their eligibility.
"It was very fortunate for us," Elliott said.
Trotter, a 6-5 forward who is averaging 45 percent from three-point range, had two treys against Haskell.
"The big difference is, to guard me, they've got to respect my outside shot now," Trotter said.
During his year at Dodge City, Trotter, who did not meet NCAA eligibility standards out of high school, was under-enrolled. To catch up, he has 18 hours this semester and is enrolled in 19 next semester. Several four-year schools have been in contact -- including Hawaii, Colorado State and Arkansas State -- and are interested pending his graduation, he said.
Meanwhile, the Scotties, 6-6, continue to improve.
"We're struggling right now on offense," he said. "We did a better job in the second half tonight."
Haskell led by as many as 14 in the first half before going to intermission ahead 40-37. Its lead was 64-63 with just over seven minutes remaining when the Scots went on a 16-2 run punctuated by two thundering Trotter dunks and twice as many easy misses by the Indians.
"I guess I sat there waiting for that run all night long," Elliott said.
The Indians were not.
"That's the way it's been for us," sophomore forward Terry Brockie said. "We play 20 minutes of good ball, and then have a seven- or eight-minute run when we don't know where we're at."
Haskell, which fell to 3-7 in its fifth game in nine days, was led by Dan Black with 16 points and Brockie with 14.
"We're playing good defense, and our rebounding is improving, but we need to improve on offense," Brockie said. "We just didn't put the ball in the bucket at crucial times."
The Indians travel to meet Emporia State's JV on Friday.