The Trinity basketball team had its season come to an end with a 55-47 loss to Proviso East in the York Sectional Championship in Elmhurst on Thursday night.
The Blazers, who defeated the Pirates 64-60 during a holiday tournament back in December, had a tough time containing Ricquia Jones this time around. The senior point guard zipped past and burrowed her way through defenders for 18 points, while Trinity held Illinois-bound Ivory Crawford to just five in the game. But poor shooting and 22 turnovers caught up to the Blazers in the end.
“[This] was an intense game. We just missed shots we normally make and I credit that to the great intensity Proviso brought to the game,” said Trinity head coach Ed Stritzel. “We seemed to be losing by three points the entire second half and just couldn’t get the lead. It’s deeply disappointing personally as we have made so many strides in building consistency to the Trinity basketball program.”
Trinity trailed just 24-22 at halftime, but Proviso East went on a 15-2 run in-between the third and fourth quarters to pull away.
Megan Podkowa, who scored 24 points when the teams first met, was held to 14 in this game. Taylor Nazon added 12 points, and Taricka Linzy 10 for the Blazers, who in the sectional semifinal avenged a loss earlier in the season to Bartlett by holding off the Hawks for a 62-54 victory. In that game, the Blazers jumped out to a 24-7 lead in the opening quarter and rolled into halftime up 12.
Trinity’s dominance over Bartlett carried into the third before the Blazers had to clamp down in the final period when the Hawks went on an 11-2 run, cutting the deficit to three. But by tightening up their defense and hitting their free throws, the Blazers held on for the victory. With a minute and a half to go, Bartlett was held scoreless and Nazon and Divinity Brown each went 2-for-2 from the free-throw line.
Also against Bartlett, Podkowa led four Blazers that finished in double-digit scoring with 16 points. The junior hauled down 10 rebounds. Nazon and Linzy both added 14 points apiece, while Alyssa Dengler finished with 10, all coming in the first quarter.
The Blazers battled through multiple injuries this season, along with a player abruptly leaving the team. Trinity also experienced an odd forfeit by highly ranked Morgan Park earlier in the schedule.
The Blazers, who lose just three seniors to graduation, including Linzy and Brown, finished the season with an overall record of 28-5. The 28 victories match that of the program’s all-time wins record.
“I wouldn’t change anything this season,” said Stritzel of his team’s performance. “We scheduled, by far, the toughest opponents out there, and it paid off.
“Our future is so bright as the expanded nucleus of our team was juniors, sophomores or freshman.”
Along with Podkowa, a junior who averaged 18 points per game and nine rebounds, those expected back next year include Nazon, Dengler and Mikayla Leyden, who didn’t see much playing time this season due to an injury.