The Trinity girls basketball team may be young this season, but a trip to the Class 3A State championship certainly isn’t out of the question.
With some of the bigger schools like area-rival Fenwick in Class 4A, the Blazers are the big fish in the small pond. Last season, the team compiled a 26-7 overall record and claimed its first Girls Catholic Athletic Conference (GCAC) championship in school history. Second-year head coach, Ed Stritzel, admits this year’s squad is young and inexperienced, but he feels confident going into the season.
“One would think last year would have been very difficult because of a transition to a new coaching staff, but the kids bought into my style and I feel that has carried over to this year,” he said. “I couldn’t be happier with our team this year and to be honest, we have the same goals as last year. I want to win the conference and make our presence known at state.”
The Blazers are indeed young, but definitely boast plenty of talent, beginning with junior shooting guard Monica Albano. Albano has started since she was a freshman and Stritzel is convinced she will contend for All-state honors this year. Considering Albano averaged 15 points per game and four assists last season, he may be right. At point guard, Stritzel will rely on freshman Divinity Brown, but Stritzel’s confidence in his point guard is palpable.
“Most coaches would worry about a freshman running the offense, but Divinity is so solid that I have no worries,” he said. “She is a very smart and balanced player and I think the more varsity experience she gets the better she will become.”
Because of the overall team quickness, Stritzel will go with a three-guard lineup, with 5-foot-5-inch junior two-guard Caneka Davis rounding out the backcourt. The senior frontcourt of power forward Amanda Macchione and 5-11 center Erica Cross will be the leaders this year. Macchione averaged 10 points and six rebounds per game last season, while Cross started every game last year and averaged five points and seven rebounds. Rounding out the squad, will be 5-8 junior Shakiya Vassar, three-point shooter specialist Nicole Forrentino and freshman Taricka Linzy.
“Vassar can guard anybody and Forrentino is lethal from three-point land,” Stritzel said. “I am also excited to see what Linzy can do. She plays like Charles Barkley because she is very physical and very strong and I think will give the competition fits this year.”
Despite all their talent, the Blazers still will have a sizable learning curve this year, amplified by four players still competing on the volleyball team as of early this week. Stritzel also said that while last year’s team relied heavily on strength, quickness will be the key this season.
“We were devastatingly strong last year and this year we are going to be totally different,” he said. “Our two main strengths are that we are quick and have a very deep bench. Usually, I stick to a core group of players without much substituting, but we are so good this year that we will probably have nine to 10 players rotating.”
As for his season outlook, Stritzel realizes that Trinity is now on everybody’s list. The Blazers will face off against the area-rival OPRF in the season opener on Tuesday.
“I expect a great game against OPRF,” said Stritzel. “We are a bit behind because of the volleyball season, but we will bring all we have. If anything, this will give our younger players a great opportunity to gain some experience at the varsity level.”