When Trinity High School hosted Oak Park and River Forest High School on Dec. 2 in a crosstown showdown, it marked the first time since February 2020 that the Blazers played with the general public in attendance at Sister Michelle Germanson Gymnasium.
“It was nice to have the people from my school and my classmates come out to watch and support me. I’ve never really had a warm atmosphere like this to play in,” said sophomore guard Lauren Miller, who poured in a game-high 24 points and added 10 rebounds to pace Trinity to a 45-32 victory over OPRF.
Trinity (4-3) got off to a hot start, scoring the game’s first 15 points. Both Coleman and Miller thought that was the key to the victory.
“That was phenomenal. I just wished we could’ve maintained it throughout the whole game,” Trinity coach Kim Coleman said of the Blazers’ early intensity after a 47-19 loss to Fenwick on Nov. 30.
OPRF (3-3) didn’t score until more than four minutes into the game, on a basket by senior guard Kennedy Jones. The Huskies had just three baskets in the entire first half as they continued a troubling pattern.
“We have to learn how to start games with the same intensity we try to finish them with,” OPRF coach Carlton Rosemond said. “We’ve gotten off to slow starts in a lot of our games, and that may have to do with our preparation for them.”
It didn’t help the Huskies that they were without two of their best players, senior guard Lilah Gery and junior forward Reese Garland, against Trinity due to injury.
“Lilah is our leading scorer and not having her hurts,” Rosemond said. “Not having Reese’s physical presence inside also kills our rotation. But we don’t make excuses, it’s next girl up.”
A bright spot for OPRF was the play of senior guard Libby Majka, who scored 13 of her team-high 17 points in the second half.
“This is Libby’s best game of the season,” Rosemond said. “She’s a very talented player, but I think sometimes she doesn’t believe it. Hopefully, after today she sees she can do it, and it will be a sign of things to come.”
Three Trinity junior guards made valuable contributions against OPRF. Sophia Rodriguez had 10 points, Cierra Richardson 6 points and Maeve Lundt 7 steals.
“When we’re at the top of our game, we’re pressing and speeding up our opponents,” Coleman said. “We need to be more patient in running our offense and trusting it. Our focus is just being connected to one another while we put our pieces together.”
On Dec. 4, Trinity fell to Evanston High School 54-37. Miller had 10 points and 9 rebounds and Richardson 9 points for the Blazers, who resume their schedule this week with games at St. Ignatius and at Phillips.
The next game for OPRF is to be determined as the school suspended athletics and other extracurricular activities until further notice due to an increase in COVID-19 cases.