Back when the basketball season began as autumn’s fallen leaves were swirling about the air, there were questions needing answers for the Trinity Shamrocks girls’ program. The defending District 3 champions surely had experienced, proven winners on their roster, yet head coach Kristi Britten was missing one key ingredient when team leader, team best player and team center went down with an ACL injury in September while playing varsity volleyball. How would the Shamrocks respond to this loss?
The final answer came at the Giant Center on March 3, when the ’Rocks won their 17th District 3 Class 3A championship, 46-30, over respected rival York Catholic in convincing fashion. Trinity jumped out to a 16-0 margin six minutes into the game and led 21-3 after the first quarter. They built a 32-point lead early in the fourth quarter before the Fighting Irish hit a few three-balls to tighten the margin. Combined, York Catholic and Trinity have played in a total of 41 District 3 title games, which is an astounding fact matched only by another: both schools have also won an amazing 30 titles.
When you play a quality opponent, getting off to a fast start is crucial and Trinity blitzed the Fighting Irish with man-to man, full-court pressure from the opening tip-off that caused a dozen first-quarter turnovers and easy baskets in transition for Trinity. But, the real difference in the game was Trinity’s relentless ability to hit the glass and offensive rebound to get second and third looks, which also doomed York Catholic. The Fighting Irish (12-12) played hard all 32 minutes, and the youth on their roster points to more success in seasons to come.
With 23 players on Trinity’s bench, Coach Britten emptied the chairs and everybody got a chance to play on the big court under the bright lights in Hershey. It’s been a team effort all year for Trinity (18-7). It’s the way it had to be when senior center and Northwestern Division I-bound Lauren Trumpy went down with her injury last fall.
“We struggled a bit in the beginning of the season with our identity,” Coach Britten said after the game with that big district gold trophy tucked under her arm. “Lauren has been such a huge part of this program, and we have had so many obstacles along the way.”
Despite the injury, Lauren has been at every practice, every game and Coach Britten gives her the first words at half-time to talk to her teammates to encourage, motivate and adjust to a game situation.
“I tip my hat off to our kids,” Coach Britten said. “Our attitude all season has been fantastic…. They have brought out the best in everybody, and they play unselfishly…. This is just awesome to be able to do this again.”
“Again” is the question’s answer.
(Photos by Bob Chadderdon)
By Chris Heisey, The Catholic Witness