The already battle-tested Trinity high school basketball team faced some of the premier teams in the state at the Montini Christmas Tournament over the holidays.
The Blazers (13-2) earned fourth place with a 2-2 showing in the annual tournament. Trinity’s only losses occurred against Marian Catholic (Class 4A defending state champion) and Rolling Meadows (Class 4A state runner-up). Last spring, Marian Catholic beat Rolling Meadows 48-47 on a putback basket at the buzzer to claim the state title.
Trinity opened the tournament with a victory over Plainfield, then squeaked by Batavia 66-64 in the following round.
Rolling Meadows defeated Trinity 65-52 in the semifinals. Senior guard Lauren Prochaska led Trinity with 16 points and four assists, while Patricia Stritzel contributed 14 points. The Blazers pulled to within one point of the Mustangs in the fourth quarter but ultimately fell short en route to their first loss of the season.
“We gave [Rolling Meadows] a great game,” coach Ed Stritzel said. “We felt really good about the way we played against a good team like that in the semifinals.”
In the third-place game, Marian Catholic routed the Blazers 52-22. The Blazers’ typically high octane offense simply ran out of gas.
“We didn’t play our best [against Marian Catholic],” Stritzel said. “We were tired from having three games in four nights. We didn’t play up to our standards.”
The DePaul-bound Prochaska was named to the all-tournament team.
“Lauren had a heck of a tournament,” Stritzel said. “The competition is great and there’s so much talent there, so it’s an honor for her to make the all-tournament team.”
The Blazers’ .500 showing at Montini is certainly deceptive considering the remarkable depth of the tournament field.
“The ninth seed in the tournament is a Top 20 team in the state,” Stritzel said. “That shows you how powerful this tournament is. All in all, it was a really successful tournament for us. The schedule and the teams we’re playing right now are beyond belief.
“We feel great moving forward. Our only losses were to the two best teams from last season, and we more than held our own against Rolling Meadows.”
The Blazers host Whitney Young, the top-ranked team in the state, Saturday at 7 p.m.
“I told the girls that there’s no time to rest,” he said. “Every game is a monster game. We’re thrilled because it’s going to be an unbelievable environment in our gym on Saturday.”