Trinity overpowers OPRF

Both teams eager to start playoffs

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Lauren Recchia

Contributing Reporter

Although the Oak Park and River Forest High School girls basketball team played with confidence and aggressiveness against Trinity, the host Blazers ultimately offered way too much firepower for the short-handed Huskies in their annual nonconference meeting in River Forest.

Trinity overpowered the Huskies 51-19 on Tuesday (Feb. 11) by employing an effective combination of fast break offense and stifling defense. OPRF only scored eight points off field goals as the Blazers celebrated Senior Night in dominant fashion.

"We just tried to keep our focus and win the game for the seniors," Trinity guard Annie McKenna said. "We tried to tune everything else out with all the excitement before the game. The key was just to play our game."

Trinity (22-4, 10-1 Girls Catholic Athletic Conference) certainly established their trademark brand of up tempo basketball early, closing the first quarter on a 19-3 run capped off by a basket from McKenna. Conversely, the Huskies' first field goal didn't arrive until the 4:59 mark of the second quarter when junior forward Callie Shelton snagged a rebound, dribbled the length of the court and put in lay up.

"Our team didn't make shots today, but they were coming on to the basket aggressively," OPRF coach JP Coughlin said. "Even through adversity, these girls play hard. I'm proud of them."

Coughlin felt confident that his eligible players would step up for their injury-ridden teammates. It's been a difficult season for the Huskies, who have lost stars like Erin Orr and Chardonnay Harris to injury.

"For a team that's lost nine straight games, we're playing very confident," Coughlin said. "Katie Mullins has grown a lot since the start of the year. Demi Philosophos is really coming along too."

Both Mullins and Philosophos are promising sophomore guards, who along with Harris and junior guard Hailey Hoye, comprise a talented backcourt for OPRF.

McKenna led the Blazers with 16 points, while senior guard Lauren Prochaska followed with eight points. Junior swingman Patricia Stritzel and freshman guard Porsha Sydnor each notched seven points for Trinity.

Mullins led OPRF in scoring with seven points. Shelton added six points.

OPRF (10-19, 3-9 West Suburban Silver) mustered a brief 5-0 run early in the fourth quarter; however, Trinity ended the game on a run of its own to maintain a comfortable margin of victory.

The victory proved bittersweet for the DePaul-bound Prochaska, who played her final game on the court she has called home for the past four years.

"The team came out hard," Prochaska said. "Coach [Ed Stritzel] told the seniors not to be sad because we have the best part of our lives coming up. I tried to keep the sadness out. We need our emotions and excitement high for when we come into regionals."

The Blazers visit Marist for their regular season finale on Saturday at 2:30 p.m.

The Class 4A playoffs begin next week, with the Blazers and Huskies both slotted in the stacked Hinsdale South Sectional as the No. 2 and No. 10 seeds, respectively. Top-seeded Whitney Young, Kenwood, Proviso East, Riverside-Brookfield and St. Ignatius are the sectional's other top teams. Along with the Huskies, their West Suburban Conference Silver Division rivals, Lyons Township and Hinsdale Central as well as cross-town rival Fenwick are all viable sectional sleepers capable of pulling off an upset or two.

Trinity, which defeated Whitney Young 56-52 during the regular season, opens the playoffs against the winner of Argo vs. Prosser on Tuesday, Feb. 18 (6 p.m.) in the Argo Regional semifinals. OPRF takes on St. Ignatius the same night (8 p.m.) in the other semifinal. The Argo Regional title game will be played Thursday, Feb. 20 at 7 p.m.

"We're going to give it our best shot against (St.) Ignatius," Coughlin said. "I like our chances. (Ignatius) is a good team, but we played well in some stretches during this rough patch. We have a good game plan for them, and we'll come out and give it our best shot."

With all due respect to the rest of the sectional field, Trinity and Whitney Young appear on a collision course to contest the championship.

"If we face [Whitney] Young again, we'll definitely focus on boxing out and keeping them off the boards," Prochaska said. "We have to make sure we keep them from getting any easy points, and use our speed to try to get ahead and run."

Fenwick (10-16, 4-4 East Suburban Cathollic Conference) meets Curie in the quarterfinals of the Reavis Regional on Tuesday, Feb. 18, with Proviso East awaiting the winner in the next round.

The Friars edged Nazareth 72-66 on Wednesday as Jade Owens netted 28 points and Kelly Canoy and Jenny Mackowiak chipped in 12 points apiece.

Contact: Twitter: OakParkSports

 

Fenwick 72, Nazareth 66

Fenwick (10-16, 4-4 East Suburban Catholic): Jade Owens 25 pts; Kelly Canoy, Jenny Mackowiak 12 pts each

- See more at: http://www.highschoolcubenews.com/news_article/show/349422?referrer_id=596370#sthash.2QcUemmK.dpuf

Fenwick 72, Nazareth 66

Fenwick (10-16, 4-4 East Suburban Catholic): Jade Owens 25 pts; Kelly Canoy, Jenny Mackowiak 12 pts each

- See more at: http://www.highschoolcubenews.com/news_article/show/349422?referrer_id=596370#sthash.2QcUemmK.dpuf

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