Lady Saints clinch spot at South State

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, February 2, 2000

Trinity Episcopal High’s Lady Saints assured themselves of a spot at South State by overtaking a taller Franklin Academy team 44-33 in a physical MPSA&160;District 6A&160;Tournament contest Tuesday at Trinity.

Trinity meets today’s Presbyterian Christian-Huntington winner Friday at 7 p.m. in a semifinal contest.

The top four teams advance to South A State at Minden, La., next week.

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In other action Tuesday, Briarfield’s girls defeated Pine Hills 71-24, while River Oaks’ boys eliminated Pine Hills 77-58.

Trinity’s girls (20-6) outscored Franklin 9-0 over the last 1:54 to secure the win.

&uot;Those six o’clock in the morning workouts in August and practice every day for two hours feel very good now,&uot; said Trinity senior Sarah Kirby. &uot;We knew it would be a tough and close contest.&uot;

Lauren Tanner scored three of Trinity’s first seven points, but picked up her third foul with 6:35 to play in the second quarter.

&uot;I just started playing with more intensity,&uot; Tanner said of her return to start the second half. &uot;We just had to play big inside.&uot;

Trinity led 13-10 at the end of the first quarter.

Sarah Kirby and Becky Bass hit baskets to start the second quarter and give the Lady Saints a 17-10 advantage. Kirby then stole the ball and converted a layup to put the Saints up 19-10.

&uot;We knew they depended on ’45’ (Emily Little) a lot and that 12 (Courtney Emfinger) could shoot outside,&uot; Kirby said. &uot;Their point guard never shoots, so we kind of stayed off of her.&uot;

Franklin fought back as hit two baskets and the Cougars pulled to within 19-16 at halftime.

Greer scored Trinity’s first four points of the third quarter as the Lady Saints were up 24-18.

Greer, who led the Lady Saints with 13 points, missed Trinity’s last two games with a sprained ankle. She wore a brace in Tuesday’s game.

&uot;It didn’t really bother me,&uot; Greer said. &uot;There was so much adrenaline and we all wanted it so bad I just put it past me.&uot;

But Little hit a basket to pull Franklin back to within 26-24 going into the final quarter.

Tanner put Trinity up by four early in the final quarter, but Franklin pulled to within two points twice.

Little hit a free throw to cut the Trinity lead to 33-32 with 2:59 remaining.

Becky Bass, who added 10 points, nailed two free throws to put Trinity up 35-32.

A free throw by Emfinger with 1:54 to play would be be the last point Franklin would get.

Tanner hit two free throws, Ashley Kingsafer added another free throw and basket, Bass rebounded a missed free throw for a bucket, Greer hit two free throws to close out the scoring.

&uot;We knew defense would keep us alive,&uot; Greer said. &uot;We needed to put them away earlier. When they got within one, we just turned it up because we wanted it more.&uot;

Kirby, a senior, sat out South State last year with mononucleosis.

&uot;That’s what makes this year even more special,&uot; Kirby said.

Franklin had only three players scoring, with Emfinger and Little netting 15 points each.

&uot;Defense wins championships,&uot; said Trinity head coach Melanie Hall. &uot;They made a run, but we just gathered together and got mentally tough. These girls play with a lot of heart.&uot;

Hall said the conditioning program has paid off.

&uot;You can be the best shooter or best defensive player, but if you are not in condition, it doesn’t matter,&uot; she said. &uot;Everybody stepped up tonight. We did this together.&uot;