Free throw shooting the difference in Trinity’s Overall loss

Published 12:02 am Thursday, February 25, 2010

NATCHEZ — Although there weren’t any broken hearts this time, the Trinity varsity girls played a game Wednesday that was similar to its game last Saturday in the MAIS Class A state championship.

Against Class AA No. 2 seed Brookhaven Academy, Trinity was able to keep the game close, but foul shooting made the difference once again, as the Class A No. 2 seed Lady Saints fell 58-53 in the first round of the MAIS Overall tournament.

The loss featured the same point differentiation as Saturday’s game against Delta Academy, which beat Trinity 38-33.

“We lost by five again,” Lady Saints head coach Richy Spears said.

As it was in the state championship, Trinity shot well at the free throw line, going 11-of-14. Brookhaven Academy, however, got more opportunities and finished 20-of-26 in foul shots. It was 8-of-9 in free throws in the fourth quarter.

“It felt like they were 25-of-26,” Spears said. “I know they made them in the fourth quarter, and that’s what it came down to.”

Trinity was down 27-24 at the half, and two quick field goals by Brookhaven Academy’s Anna Katelyn Mangold made it seem like the game would quickly get out of hand.

However, the Lady Saints didn’t lie down without a fight, keeping within striking distance throughout the third quarter, until the score was 39-32 with less than a minute to go before the fourth.

Trinity came storming back in that final minute, with Katie Steele hitting a key 3-pointer with 44 seconds left. Bethany Ogden followed it up with a foul shot, and Brandis White banked a layup with three seconds left and drew a foul, sinking the free throw and tying the game 39-39 at the end of the third.

Trinity showed signs that it might pull the upset, scoring four points at the start of the fourth quarter, but Brookhaven Academy shot back with its inside game, dishing the ball to Mangold, who sank four points from under the basket to tie it up again 43-43 with 5:47 left to play.

Brookhaven Academy outscored Trinity 15-10 in the game’s remaining minutes, sealing the win and a trip to the tournament quarterfinals Friday.

White led Trinity in scoring with 18 points. Ogden added 13 and Cross finished with 12.

For Brookhaven Academy, Mangold led with 20 points. Terah Winborne and Anna Lofton each tallied 11 points and Laura Beth Wright scored 10 points.

As always, Spears complimented his team’s hustle, and said he didn’t harbor any disappointment towards them.

“We played hard,” Spears said. “They got some easy baskets off of the press, but I felt like we had to run the press in hopes of creating some turnovers.

“They were just so much bigger inside than we were. It was 5-foot-5 going against 6-foot-2, so I told my girls that we had to make them earn it, and they earned it.”

The Lady Saints finished 24-11 this season, and Spears said he’s already looking forward to his team’s possibilities for next year.

“I’m excited. Our offseason workouts start in two weeks, when they begin lifting weights. Hopefully, they’ll go through the summer wanting to improve on everything they’ve done so far.”