With its talent, depth and versatility, the Trinity High School basketball team can win games in a variety of ways.
An up-tempo style of play with points coming off turnovers and fast breaks suits the Blazers best. Rival Fenwick had a first-hand look at the Blazers in full flight (at least for three quarters) on Thursday, Jan. 7.
The visiting Friars hung around for a quarter before the Blazers picked up the pace en route to a relatively comfortable 71-54 win.
Fenwick junior guard Chance Baggett scored seven points and sophomore forward Kate Moore added five points in the first quarter. Baggett’s 3-pointer from the right side tied the score at 12 with 26 seconds left in the opening quarter.
“We scored 71 points so we had no problems offensively,” Trinity coach Mike Valente said. “I wasn’t completely happy with our defensive intensity. I thought we were content to just match baskets a few times. With our depth though, we can wear down teams over the course of a game.”
Employing relentless full court pressure essentially the entire game, Trinity went on a 10-2 run to start the second quarter with layups or inside baskets from Alyssa Geary, Annie Stritzel, Annie McKenna, Dee Brown and Alisa Fallon in building a 22-14 lead.
Baggett sank another trey to pull the Friars within 22-17, but the Blazers closed the second quarter with an 11-3 spurt to hold a 33-20 advantage at halftime.
Six players scored in the third quarter for Trinity which extended its lead to 54-34. Trinity senior forward Kaitlin Aylward led the way with six of her team-high 18 points in the third.
Although the Friars outscored Trinity 20-17 in the fourth quarter, Stritzel ensured the Blazers maintained a sizeable lead with 11 points including a trio of 3-pointers. The highly touted freshman finished with 17 points.
“I just don’t take any shot that comes to me,” Stritzel said. “I feel like I have to work to get opportunities.
“We’ve been playing better. We have so much depth which is nice.”
Brown (11 points) and McKenna (9 points) also contributed to the Blazers’ balanced attack.
“We moved the ball pretty well and played pretty good defense,” Brown said. “We like to play at a fast speed so we just kept pressuring (Fenwick) and it turned out well for us.”
After a tumultuous start this season which included Valente taking over as the head coach after Ed Stritzel resigned on Nov. 30, Trinity (14-4) appears back on track. The Blazers have 10 of 11 games.
“We’re definitely moving along and making progress,” Valente said. “We’re not where we want to be yet. It’s a long-term thing. Obviously we would like to win every game, but this season is about trying to win a state championship.
“I’m very comfortable with these girls and the school and administration have been fantastic. We have a great group of ladies on this team and there’s only success moving forward with this group.”
Moore led Fenwick with a game-high 22 points and Baggett scored 15 points. The Friars, who have 10 underclassmen on the roster, took on Trinity without starters Bailey Forde and McKenzie Blaze who are both injured.
“I think we did a really good job of sharing the ball but we had a lot turnovers,” Fenwick center Charlotte Quinn said. “I think it was a learning experience for us. If we play them again this year, I think we’ll play better next time.”
Moore scored 23 points in a 58-50 win against St. Ignatius on Tuesday, Jan. 5.
“For the most past, I’m just trying to play smart and relax on the court,” she said. “I try to see where everybody is on the court and finding who is open. I also like to drive to the basket for either a kick-out pass or shot and I try to be shot ready for the three-point line as well.”
Valente enjoyed the challenge of facing the tradition-rich Friars and their head coach Dave Power, who is two wins shy of 900 career wins.
“It’s a great rivalry game for the schools and community,” said Valente, a former assistant coach under Power at Fenwick. “Coach Power is probably one of the best coaches ever in Illinois. He’s also a great friend of mine. To have the opportunity to coach against him and get a win is a huge deal.”