The Trinity basketball team certainly experienced the highs and lows of the playoffs over the past several days.
Homewood-Flossmoor pulled off an improbable rally to pull off a 72-68 overtime win against the Blazers in the Class 4A Mother McAuley Supersectional on Monday.
Five days before the supersectional showdown, Trinity notched an equally memorable 37-36 sectional finals win over host Whitney Young. The Blazers’ upset of the defending state champion Dolphins was one of the best victories in program history, considering Whitney Young entered the game on a 127-game winning streak at home. Trinity junior guard Annie McKenna made a game-winning layup with 28.3 seconds left to secure the Blazers’ safe passage into supersectional play. Junior forward Kaitlin Aylward paced Trinity with 13 points.
Against Homewood-Flossmoor, Trinity led 58-49 with 1:18 to go in the fourth quarter after consecutive layups by freshman swingman Lauren Lee. Homewood-Flossmoor went on a timely 12-3 spurt to tie the game at 61-61 and force overtime. The Vikings’ rally was capped off by Tylah Lampley’s clutch fadeaway jump shot with 1.6 seconds left in regulation.
The Blazers played overtime without McKenna, who fouled out late in the fourth quarter.
“Without Annie, we were still able to hold things together,” Trinity coach Ed Stritzel said. “That just shows how amazing the kids are on our team.”
Lampley made a pair of free throws with 21.3 seconds left in overtime to seal the win for the Vikings (20-6). Bria Stallworth netted a game-high 24 points for H-F.
“For the most part, we did a great job on the boards,” Stritzel said. “We made some mistakes down the stretch that you can’t make against a team like Homewood-Flossmoor.”
Aylward scored a team-high 21 points. Freshmen Alisa Fallon (15 points), Daliyah Brown (12 points) and Lauren Lee (9 points) also contributed for the Blazers.
Trinity (28-4) turned in another terrific season under Stritzel. Senior Patricia Stritzel (Ed’s daughter), McKenna and Aylward provided leadership and experience for the young Blazers. A superb freshman class of Fallon, Lee, Brown, Alyssa Geary and Alex Fanning made a major impact as well this season.
“They’re going to be fantastic next year,” Patricia Stritzel said. “From September to now, the change has been monumental. I really don’t know who will be able to stop them next year.”