The Dominion Post  

Trinity girls head to state looking to win

Created on:   Wed, Mar 7, 2018   9:45 PM

Last modified:   Wed, Mar 7, 2018   9:45 PM

The Dominion Post

MORGANTOWN — Mike Baldy had a goal in mind when he took over as the head coach of the Trinity girls’ basketball team three years ago: Get to Charleston and the state tournament.

His first season was a struggle, finishing 3-19 with a loss in the sectional tournament.

In Year 2, there was drastic improvement. The Warriors made it all the way to the regional championship, but lost to powerhouse Gilmer County.

This season appeared to be another lost cause. After starting 6-1, the Warriors lost 11 of 14 games to end the regular season.

“We got a little away from ourselves,” Baldy said. “We’re a man-to-man, pack-the-line defense, and we got away from that. We got too fancy, and that’s not what we do. Even I got out of balance, and the girls saw a side of me they didn’t usually see. I was screaming a lot, but we had a heart to heart before the playoffs. I said ‘I’ll be me again and you be you again,’ and it really showed the last two weeks.”

Trinity (13-12) rattled off four wins in a row, claiming the sectional and regional championships to earn a trip to the state tournament for the first time since 2012. The Warriors will face Wheeling Central Catholic (22-2) at 1 p.m. March 8, at the Char-leston Civic Center.

Baldy reached a goal that he first brought into the program when he took over, but there will be a feeling of sadness when the Warriors take the floor.

Emily Saurborn, the team’s only senior, had a complete tear of her ACL in the regional final, against Moorefield, on Feb. 28. She started all four years of her career, even as a freshman the season before Baldy took over.

“This is really bittersweet because we won’t have Emily,” Baldy said. “She was such an integral part of our program. I just feel terrible about it, and it’s the worst feeling for Emily. The other girls are doing well and so is Emily, but man, it’s been tough for me to watch a girl who has done so much not be able to play down there.”

Jaclyn Smith is Saurborn’s likely replacement, and although Baldy doesn’t question Smith’s ability, it will be difficult to replicate what Saurborn can do defensively — getting to loose balls and the hustle plays she’s been known for.

Even with the loss of Saurborn, the Warriors aren’t settling or just happy to go to state — they are intent on winning. They faced Wheeling Central on Jan. 25, a 62-44 loss at home, but the game was closer than the final outcome. Trinity was four points down in the second half.

“They’re a really good team and have had a lot of success,” Baldy said of the Maroon Knights. “We’re practicing to go down there and win, not just to go hang out at the mall. It’s a match-up I like and we’re going to do similar stuff we did to them in Morgantown.”

Baldy said his team needs to improve its rebounding this time around. The Maroon Knights got a majority of their points on second-chance opportunities.

It will come down to the battle between the point guards — Trinity’s Reagan Sharp and Wheeling Central’s Taylor Duplaga.

Without Saurborn, Sharp will be relied on even more to be the go-to offensive option — what she’s been all season.

“She’s the nucleus of our team,” Baldy said. “We’ll run just about everything through Reagan. We only have two plays drawn up that don’t go through her. She is immensely important to our team, and she has to guard Taylor Duplaga, who is one of the best point guards in the state.”

Baldy also complimented Sharp’s defensive improvement, saying she has become much better from her freshman year to now as a junior.

The winner of today’s game will face the winner of the Tucker County/Magnolia game, at 11:15 a.m. Friday.

— Single-session tickets for the state girls’ basketball tournaments are available via for $9 (the price is subject to fees).

Single-session tickets also are available at the Charleston Civic Center box office.

General seating is $8, reserved seating $9.