Blazers inaugurate first tourney with second place

Marshall wins title; coach surpasses 800 career wins

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Trinity hosted its First Annual Christmas Tournament over the holidays where eight Chicago-area teams participated. Highlights of the tournament included Marshall head coach Dorothy Gaters reaching a record 800th career victory on the first day of play, when her Commandos defeated Leyden 44-26.  The Commandos continued their winning ways throughout the tourney, eventually upending Trinity in an intense title game 48-44.

"It was a great tournament," said Gaters after the title win. "We had some tough games, and it was nice to finish out with the win."

The Blazers (12-7), however,  started off the tourney ablaze, defeating their first three opponents, Harlan,  Simeon and Guerin by wide margins.

"We did awesome the first four games," said guard Katie Jarger, who scored 15 points in a 66-31 blowout of Simeon. "We won the first three games by a 30-point average."

The easy victories allowed star guard Alison Sansone and Tony Carter, both nursing mild injuries, time to rest.

Trinity's 71-62 semifinal win over Proviso West began looking like it was going to follow the pattern of the other games. The Blazers jumped off to a big lead and finished the first quarter up 23-8. But the Panthers refused to throw in the towel. They chipped away at the lead, closing the gap to six at the half, and even took a one-point lead with 40 seconds to go in the third. However, Proviso West could never build on that lead as the crowd was treated to a 3-point shootout on both sides of the court.

Trinity had the edge with Jarger hitting five 3-pointers to finish with 21 points. Tonesha Members, who stepped in for Sansone, added 19 points, 12 of which came at the free-throw line.

"It feels good," said Members of her play in the tournament. "I just have to try and do what Ali can do in a game, and try to do my best."

Lykendra Johnson had a strong game for Trinity with 16 points, three blocks and six rebounds.

Ashley Cannon led Proviso West with 18 points, while Andrea Bankhead had 17.

The much anticipated final against Marshall began with both teams trading baskets throughout the first quarter. Jarger's 3-pointer put the Blazers up 11?#34;7 after one period. The second quarter was almost a repeat of the first with Trinity up at the half, 23?#34;22.

The Blazers tried to build the lead in the second half, going up by as many as six points. Marshall refused to budge in the fourth, holding Trinity scoreless for over five minutes of action. The Commandos lassoed the lead and the game away with a 14-0 run. 

Members led Trinity with 13 points, while Sansone chipped in nine points and Jarger eight. Freshman Amanda Macchione garnered eight rebounds and Johnson had seven to go along with her three blocks.

"Overall I thought we did well in the tournament. It was a close game tonight," said Trinity head coach Don Sansone. "We played back-to-back nights, and I think it showed. The girls played hard. They gave it everything."

The Blazers travel to Regina today (Wednesday, 6:30 p.m.) and host St. Ignatius on Friday (7:30 p.m.).

Trinity will receive some television time this Friday morning when the team is featured on Channel 2's "Hoops Friday." The station will be broadcasting live from the gym during weather segments between 5-7 a.m.

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