The Trinity girls basketball team is capable of producing its best when it absolutely needs it.
It didn’t matter that they could not keep Cheney off the glass. It didn’t matter that their offense did not flow for the first 28 minutes. It did not matter they were facing a three-possession deficit with time dwindling.
Trinity had to have it, and it found what it needed in a 58-54 victory over Cheney to answer the seemingly impossible question of how a team can be outrebounded by nearly 30 and still win.
“Somehow, someway, somebody steps up and refuses to lose,” Trinity coach Brett Gunderson said. “We just stay with it and find a way.”
Both teams were sloppy in their execution, as the teams combined for 35.2 percent shooting and 46 turnovers. Cheney had the advantage inside, starting 6-foot sophomore Haley Albers when Trinity had no one over 5-9.
Albers capitalized on simply being taller and capable of reaching higher than anyone else on the court. She finished with a game-high 18 points and 21 rebounds, 10 of them offensive.
How Cheney squandered this advantage, which led to a 45-38 lead midway through the fourth quarter, came down to taking care of the ball. The cold shooting didn’t help, but then the 33 turnovers buried the Cardinals.
“You get up like that and you try to play to win and finish it out, and we didn’t do that,” Cheney coach Rod Scheer said. “We’re not going to beat anybody with that many turnovers.”
Sure enough, it was turnovers that ignited Trinity’s comeback. After taking the 45-38 lead, Cheney turned it over three consecutive times leading to Trinity points. In less than two minutes, the lead had shrank to one point.
Cheney still grasped its lead with under two minutes left, but four straight turnovers ended any threat. A steal and lay-up from Whitney Guetersloh gave Trinity a lead, at 53-52, it would not relinquish.
“We got it in our heads that that was our ball and we were going to take it,” junior Kaleigh Schrag said. “That was our ball game.”
There wasn’t one standout contributor for Trinity, which had timely efforts from Schrag (12 points, five assists, five steals), Guetersloh, Caroline Zielke (13 points), and sophomore Ally Henderson (10 points, four steals).
After all, that’s the Trinity way.
“That was one gutsy win,” Gunderson said. “We didn’t do a lot of the things we wanted to do, but we were able to fight through that and do what we do.”
CHENEY: Denney 14, Twietmeyer 9, Lonker 5, Wood 0, Albers 18, Ortiz 4, Freund 4. Totals 19 (1) 15-20 54.
TRINITY: Schrag 12, Guetersloh 5, Miller 6, Zielke 13, Hollinger 6, Henderson 10, Scheufler 4, Knocke 2, Bearup 0, Ast 0. Totals 24 (2) 8-17 58.