Leake girls hand Trinity loss at first round of AA state tournament

Published 12:00 am Monday, March 14, 2005

BROOKHAVEN &045; Against Leake Academy, Trinity was simply overmatched.

That became obvious in the first quarter, when the Lady Rebels went on a 27-4 run to take a lead they would never surrender.

&uot;The girls played hard,&uot; Trinity coach Melanie Hall said. &uot;They didn’t quit even when we were way down. It’s easy to quit in a game like this, but they didn’t. They’re fighters. Leake is just a super basketball team.&uot;

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Leake (29-2) went on to take a 90-49 win over Trinity (18-14) in the opening round of the Class AA State Tournament Wednesday.

After the first quarter, Trinity seemed to get more into the flow of the game and made things closer for the final three quarters, though the Lady Saints continued to lose ground on the scoreboard. After giving up a 23-point advantage in the first, the Lady Saints weren’t outscored by more than eight points in any of the final three periods.

&uot;I think they play played pretty well. They really did a good job even though it looked like a blowout, I mean we scored a lot of points,&uot; Leake Academy coach Doyle Wolverton said. &uot;After the first, they played us pretty close.&uot;

Wolverton also praised Trinity’s offense, which did a decent job when the Lady Saints could get the ball past a suffocating Lady Rebels defense.

&uot;They did a good job passing and cutting,&uot; Wolverton said. &uot;They are very fundamentally sound.&uot;

Trinity trailed 53-22 at halftime and Leake Academy was in control for the stretch drive.

&uot;They were shooting the lights out, (player) No. 1 to No. 15,&uot; Hall said. &uot;They just couldn’t miss.&uot;

The Lady Rebels’ Julie Wilbanks put the final touches on the win with a 3-pointer with 48 seconds left, pulling Leake Academy out to a 41-point lead, its largest of the game and ending the scoring.

For Trinity, it was a disappointing way to end the year. The loss shouldn’t obscure what was a very strong &045; and surprising &045; season for the Lady Saints.

With Trinity’s move up to Class AA and a young team without any seniors, most fans probably thought this would be a down year for the team. But after some early struggles, the team came together just in time for the postseason. A strong run at their district tournament was followed by a win at South State that propelled the Lady Saints to the state tournament.

&uot;I feel blessed to have this group of girls to work with,&uot; Hall said. &uot;Probably there weren’t many people who expected this out of us, not with us going up to a different division. I’m blessed to have them. Most of these girls I’ve had since they were in the seventh grade, so I know the kind of hearts they have.

&uot;One of the players said, just now after the game, ‘What time is practice tomorrow?’ They’re not ready to stop playing. I just know a little talent and a lot of heart is dangerous, and that’s what we have.&uot;