Trinity High School’s girls basketball game Thursday night against South Park was a battle for first place in Section 5-AAA.
Unfortunately for the Hillers, it turned out to be not much of a battle as South Park, the defending state champion, ran over the Hillers, 74-35.
South Park’s Allison McGrath made five three-point shots in the first half,as she single-handily outscored the entire Trinity (3-1, 8-2) team over the first 16 minutes, when the Eagles put the game out of reach.
South Park jumped out to a quick 9-0 lead as Trinity didn’t score until five minutes into the contest.
“We felt we had to come out and jump on them early,” said South Park head coach Reggie Wells. “It was a big game for both teams. Playing at their place, we felt we had to get off to a good start.”
South Park’s half-court zone defense forced the Hillers into numerous turnovers as Trinity kept getting trapped in the corners.
The Hillers were looking at a 22-6 deficit after one quarter.
“That was the difference in the game,” said Wells. “We wanted to be aggressive on defense and force turnovers. We did that early and was able to turn the turnovers into quick offense.”
Offensively South Park (5-1, 8-4) took advantage of their open looks as they made eight first half three-pointers, five of which belonged to McGrath. The sophomore scored 21 of her 25 points in the first half, leading the Eagles to a 44-17.
McGrath topped three South Park players in double figures. Haley Torris added 20 points and Amanda Quinn chipped in 13.
Things didn’t get much better for the Hillers in the second half as Trinity still had problems taking care of the ball and getting open shots.
Meanwhile, the Eagles stayed hot from the perimeter. They made 12 three-pointers on the night, compared to none from the Hillers.
“We didn’t defend the perimeter very well,” said Trinity head coach Bob Miles. “They shot it extremely well, but they didn’t have to take tough shots. We also turned the ball over way too much. They showed why they were state champs.”
The success the Hillers had came when they were able to get the ball inside the South Park zone. The combination of Mary Dunn (15 points) and Abbey O’Connor (10) combined for more than half of Trinity’s 35 points.
“It was a rough night, but we did some good things,” said Miles. “I though Abbey played extremely well for a freshman in a big game. She carried the offense in the first half. And we didn’t quit. We were down by 40 at one point and we didn’t quit. It’s a learning experience, one we hopefully will get better from.”