KIRTLAND—Trinity used a fourth-quarter run to pull away from host Kirtland in a battle of first-place teams on Monday, 53-39.
The Trojans, who are in first place of the Chagrin Valley Conference Metro Division, outscored the Hornets in the fourth quarter, 15-6. Kirtland last week clinched the CVC Valley Division title.
“With all due respect, we hate coming to Kirtland because they’re so well-coached,” said Trinity coach Kevin McNamara. “Their kids play so hard and Brittany (Zele) does an unbelievable job and the community and school should be really proud to have someone like her because we knew what it was going to be. We weren’t surprised at halftime that it was close, we were just hoping we weren’t down.”
After opening the game on a 16-11 run, Trinity did fall behind in the second quarter.
Kirtland’s Macy McIntosh scored seven of her team-high 16 in the second period to help Kirtland take a 22-21 lead into the break.
That Kirtland lead was short-lived as Rani Thigpen scored seven of Trinity’s 17 third-quarter points.
Jocelyn Corporan then hit back-to-back 3-pointers in the fourth quarter and Mahogany Cottingham went 7-of-8 from the free throw line down the stretch to seal Trinity’s win.
“We tell the kids all the time that they have to fight through adversity because it’s going to happen when you play a good team,” McNamara said. “You have to play four quarters and we had a couple of kids who hung in there and made some big shots with Corporan hitting two 3s in the fourth quarter. That was a big moment.”
Cottingham led the Trojans with a game-high 20 points and she was masterful in pushing the ball up the court against Kirtland’s press.
“Mahogany is a pro,” McNamara said. “That’s why we keep the ball in her hands and let her make decisions, good or bad. When you have somebody as special as her, that’s what should happen. She made the right choices when it mattered and found the open shooter.”
Thigpen also scored in double figures with 13 and Maciaha Irving contributed with eight, Corporan and Gabby Hemphill both finished with six, and Iniya Charlton pitched in with two points.
Trinity controls its own destiny in earning a second straight Metro Division title. The Trojans have two league games left to play but need just one win to secure that title.
“We feel we’re in a good spot,” McNamara said. “We knew this was going to be a test. We had a big letdown against Brooklyn, they played unbelievably awesome, and we’ve been challenging the girls ever since to fight to win this thing. The CVC is not an easy league. It’s a difficult conference to play in.”
Kirtland’s Reilly Greenlee also scored in double figures for the Hornets with 13 points. Alex Rosson added six and Marissa Carmosino and Emily Ridgeway both scored two.