My ball: Trinity guard Taylor Nazon handles the ball in the first half of Saturday's game against Hillcrest.Photos by J. GEIL/Staff PhotographerView more photos and order prints from this game here.

After losses to such powerhouse teams as Bartlett, Loyola and Young earlier this season, the Trinity basketball team can rest easy after a compelling 73-55 victory over highly-ranked Hillcrest last week in River Forest.

The Hawks (13-2) had defeated Morgan Park over the holiday break to slip into the seventh spot in the state rankings, but that seemed to matter little to the Blazers (16-3) on Saturday afternoon at Sister Michelle Germanson Athletic Facility. Trinity took control from the get-go by bucketing five three-pointers in the first quarter. Hillcrest never came within more than 15 points in the entire second half and the Blazers led by as much as 27 points at one time.

Trinity forward Megan Podkowa scored a season-high 25 points. The junior also had nine rebounds and two steals. Alyssa Dengler added 12 points, and Taricka Linzy finished with a double-double of 10 points and 11 assists. Sophomore Taylor Nazon also scored 10 for the Blazers, while sophomore Shannon McGinnis had 11 rebounds.

Samirah Ali led Hillcrest with 20 points, including three three-pointers.

“[Our team] was prepared for the relentless pressure Hillcrest gives and our ball movement was up to the challenge,” said Trinity head coach Ed Stritzel. “The victory was just more progression in our season plan. We want to be tested each and every night by great competition. We’re happy with the win but we haven’t reached our ultimate goal yet. We’ll keep working towards that.”

On Jan. 5, the Blazers grabbed another win in the Girls Catholic Athletic (Red Division) Conference with a 52-36 thumping of St. Ignatius. After a slow start that had Trinity leading by just a few points at the break, 21-17, Podkowa and Linzy took control in the second half. Podkowa finished the game with 14 points, 12 rebounds and five blocks, while Linzy finished with a game-high 16 points, eight of which came in the third quarter. Trinity led by as much as 16 in the final period.

The Blazers host Mother McAuley on Thursday (7:30 p.m.), and travel to Willowbrook on Friday to play Lincoln-Way East in the Chicagoland Girls Prep Classic.

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Brad Spencer

Brad Spencer has been covering sports in and around Oak Park for more than a decade, which means the young athletes he once covered in high school are now out of college and at home living with their parents...