Whether it is boys or girls basketball, the squad that exhibits more toughness is often the one that gets the ‘W’ at the end of the day.
For Trinity girls basketball coach Kathy McConnell-Miller, that fact was undeniable Monday evening at Hiller Hall when the Hillers outlasted Thomas Jefferson, 61-50, in a key Section 1 matchup in Class 5A. The Hillers (10-2, 6-1) moved into sole possession of second place while the Jaguars fell to 10-4 overall and 5-2 in section play.
“I think in the second-half especially, we showed our toughness for sure,” McConnell-Miller noted. “We did a much better job on the boards and were able to get some stops and turnovers. That was the difference.”
Senior Riley DeRubbo notched her 1,000th point with two free-throws in the fourth quarter. She finished with a game-high 20 points.
“It was really exciting, especially to have all my teammates here with me because they’re my best friends,” DeRubbo said in reference to the milestone. “Was also happy to do it at home.”
DeRubbo is the school’s 10th 1,000-point scorer in girls basketball, a feat that was recognized with a game stoppage midway through the fourth quarter.
Courtney Dahlquist was a force in the paint for the Hillers, scoring 14 points and notching five blocks. She also altered several others as Trinity gained control inside in the game’s second half.
“She truly has come on for us this year and keeps getting better and better,” McConnell-Miller added. “She has a great presence and has such great hands.”
Ashley Durig added firepower off the bench with her 12 points and constant hustle.
“She is basically our sixth starter,” McConnell-Miller said. “She brings unbelievable energy and toughness every time she comes on the floor for us. That was true tonight.”
Hustle and rebounding helped crack open a game that was tied at 20 at the half for the Hillers. Trinity outscored the Jaguars, 18-10, in the third and never looked back. Though Trinity only outrebounded the Jaguars, 23-22, for the game, the Hillers trailed in that stat, 10-3, early in the second quarter.
It also was here that DeRubbo, who scored seven points in the first half, began hunting her own shot in the third and into the fourth quarter.
“My shots started falling, I got into a rhythm and just stayed with it,” the Fordham commit added.
Trinity carried a 38-30 lead into the fourth and needed to withstand Graci Fairman’s 14 second-half points. Nine of them came on three-pointers in the final frame. But it was too little too late as Fairman’s 16 total points stood as the Jaguars lone double-digit scorer. The Hillers limited the normally high-scoring Alyssa DeAngelo to nine points on three-of-13 shooting from the field.
DeAngelo also reached the 1,000 point milestone late in the first half with a short jump shot that gave the Jaguars a 20-18 advantage.
“We knew coming in that Alyssa (DeAngelo) and Dalaney (Ranallo) would be hard to stop,” DeRubbo noted. “That was our focus for sure.”
Thomas Jefferson coach Lisa Fairman agreed that the battle of the rebounds was a key for Trinity.
“They got way too many offensive rebounds in the second half,” she added. “That was the difference.”