How did this happen?
One team was ranked No. 1 in the state. One team never defeated a highly-ranked team during the regular season. One team never lost to a team from the state of Illinois during the regular season. One team was marred with controversy when its head coach was fired mid-season without a public explanation. Both teams had a player with the same last name. One player played for both teams.
In the end, Trinity upset Fenwick by a score of 51-50. Call it a biblical upset.
Jeremiah 51:50: "Ye that have escaped the sword, go, stand not still ? " The Blazers escaped the sword. They felled Fenwick, Goliath, in a game, in a rivalry that pitted friends, neighbors, even sisters against one another. Maggie Kloak was Fenwick's center this season. Her twin sister, Bridget, is a reserve forward for Trinity. Thursday's sectional championship marked the first time Bridget's team defeated Maggie's team in their high school careers. Sort of a warm-and-fuzzy Cain versus Abel?
Let's quit the biblical references before someone gets offended. Perhaps this was an inside job.
Andrea DiCanio, saboteur. She was Fenwick's quick and trusty senior guard this season. Two years ago she was a guard for Trinity. You've got to hand it to Trinity. The school comes off as innocent, shy of controversy. Then it cunningly drives three head coaches out the door in four seasons in order to create a diversion while one of its own infiltrates the enemy. Former coaches Jason Nichols, Abby Conklin, and Don Sansone were all in on the con. The three of them are currently living on a yacht off the coast of Barbados, sipping fruity drinks and enjoying the rewards of their ruse.
Mission: Not Possible. I've been reading too many Robert Ludlum novels.
This may have actually come down to the game itself. All year, No. 1-ranked Fenwick had a defense that the pentagon would envy, and the Friars forced 23 turnovers last week. But scoring was a problem (10-for-25 from the free-throw line), especially with top player Devereaux Peters in foul trouble.
You've got to give Trinity credit. The Blazers didn't wallow in self pity when the Friars took the lead in the final minute of the third period. They didn't allow voices in their heads to mention, "Well, this is a team that the Associated Press ranked No. 1 in the nation this season. This is a team that beat something like 15 ranked opponents. Stop trying to come back. It's useless. You'll just get sweatier and smellier."
No, players like Monica Albano and Lykendra Johnson didn't even hear voices when making such pressure shots in the final seconds of action. Their poise was palpable, and Albano is a freshman. She hit two free throws in the last minute to put Trinity to within one. Johnson, a junior, who was fouled while making a field goal in the closing seconds, somehow pushed her free shot though the thick air of pressure to seal the victory.
Yeah, I think I know how this happened now.