"The girls showed heart like they have all season. They never give up," said Trinity head coach Don Sansone after his Blazers defeated St. Ignatius 53-42 on Saturday to finish in third place at the Girls Catholic Athletic Conference tournament. "I'm proud of the girls and the effort they give. Hopefully next year, we'll be back with the first place finish."
Loyola, who downed Trinity in the semifinals, defeated Resurrection 46-42 in overtime to win the title.
Trinity's win over St. Ignatius started out a defensive duel with the Blazers (17-10) trailing 9-8 after one period. The Wolfpack then went on a 7-0 run early in the second. The half ended with St. Ignatius up 23-16.
The second half saw the Blazers relentless on defense as the offense ignited with a 10-0 run, pulling ahead by one point in the third. However, St. Ignatius hung in there and took back the lead, going into the fourth up 39-33. Trinity came back again on the play of Alison Sansone, Lykendra Johnson and Katie Jarger. A 3-pointer by Jarger put her team up with just over three minutes to play. St. Ignatius then tied the game at 42l, but some key free throws by Sansone and two quick inside baskets by Jarger put the game out of reach and sealed the victory for Trinity.
Johnson finished with a double-double of 14 points and 16 rebounds.
"We came out slow in the first half, but in the second half we managed to play our game and come out with the win," beamed a tired Johnson after the game.
Although Sansone only had one point in the first half, she finished with a team high 15, going 7-for-10 from the free-throw line.
"I knew we had to pick it up. It was a big game," said Sansone. "I think the whole team really toughed it up in the third and fourth quarters."
Jarger contributed all of her nine points in the second half. All three players were named to the GCAC All-Conference Team.
Trinity faced Loyola in the semi-final game early last week and lost 50-42. The Blazers were tough on defense, holding Loyola standout Brittany McCoy to 12 points. Jarger had 13 points, while Johnson finished with 11 for the Blazers.
In the first-round game against Regina, Jarger had five 3-pointers, the last one coming with 12 seconds to go to give the Blazers a 56-55 victory. The bench was key in that game for the Blazers. Tonesha Members poured in 13 points and Bridget Kloak had a good all-around game with nine points and seven rebounds.
"We really needed this game. I tried my best to do what I could to help the team," said Kloak. The win over Regina game helped Kloak gain the starting position for the next two tournament games, where she played tough defense and went 4-for-4 from the line in the first half against St. Ignatius.
On Tuesday night (after press time), Trinity played its final home game of the season against Nazareth. The game honored the seniors on the team: Jarger, Sansone and Rachel Blonski.
"We'll take it game by game. You can't look ahead," said Jarger of the upcoming playoffs. "You have to think regionals first, then sectionals. We're really looking forward to it."