Trinity High School tied a bow on its inaugural Martin Luther King Jr. Shootout basketball showcase on Jan. 16, pulling away in the final quarter of the event’s final game to beat Butler Prep 70-57.
Lauren Miller (23 points, 14 rebounds), Cierra Richardson (18 points, 5 steals, 5 assists, and Sophia Rodriguez (20 points, 5 rebounds, 6 assists) led the Blazers (14-9)
“When Cierra, Lauren and Sophia are all going, it’s tough to beat us,” said Trinity coach Kim Coleman. “And when we have our role players buying in and doing whatever it takes, good things happen.”
The MLK Shootout at Trinity was unique in that all of the teams were led by African American coaches.
“It was beautiful. Everything ran smoothly,” said Coleman. “I appreciate all 14 teams who were a part of this. I’m also grateful to the Trinity parents for their support as well as that of our athletic director [Ken Trendel]. There was a lot of good basketball.”
Coleman hopes the MLK Shootout becomes an annual event and wants all of this year’s participants to return. In fact, she thinks the event has room for growth.
“I’d like to add 14 more teams next year and make it a two-day event,” she said.
Two other local teams competed in the event.
Fenwick High School opened play by defeating Taft 35-22, although coach Lenae Fergerson felt her team could’ve played better.
“We got the win and that’s important,” she said. “But I wasn’t pleased with our style of play. We were unfocused, sloppy, and had a lot of unforced turnovers, so we’ll get back to the drawing board at practice.”
Allie Heyer scored a game-high 13 points and was named Fenwick’s Player of the Game. Cam Brusca added 10 points for the Friars (12-11), who have won five of their last six contests.
“It was great to see the atmosphere and the acknowledgment of the coaches,” said Fergerson of the shootout. “I thank Kim Coleman for inviting us; it’s a good opportunity for the players and families to see the diversity occurring in our area.”
Oak Park and River Forest High School stayed close early on against Hyde Park, but the Thunderbirds pulled away for a 63-35 victory.
Hyde Park junior center Mia Gaines scored 23 points and grabbed 22 rebounds as she had her way with a much smaller OPRF squad.
“She didn’t do anything spectacular, but she did her job,” said OPRF coach Carlton Rosemond of the 6-foot-4 Gaines. “We just don’t have the height or size to match her.”
Libby Majka, named OPRF’s Player of the Game, had a team-high 10 points and grabbed six rebounds for the Huskies (0-20), who committed 19 turnovers.
“It’s the same thing that keeps rearing its ugly head,” Rosemond said. “We don’t take care of the ball very well, and that’s been the story. I hope my players continue to strive to right some wrongs.”
Like Fergerson, Rosemond was appreciative of the invitation to the shootout.
“It was a very good experience,” he said. “It was a good way to showcase our African American culture. There were great programs, a great environment, and some good basketball throughout the day.”