Joe Smith, Local Sports, Sports, Trinity Christian

Trinity turns up full-court press, dominates season opener

MORGANTOWN — Calvary Christian (Md.) couldn’t handle the pressure Tuesday night.

More specifically, it was Trinity’s full-court pressure that gave the Eagles fits, as the two teams met to open the season.

The Warriors turned the heat up with the press in the second quarter, creating several turnovers and holding their opponent to just one point in the quarter, en route to a 53-23 win.

“That second quarter we were scrappy,” Trinity head coach Mike Baldy said. “That’s really the only thing I was happy about. We played hard on defense.”

For a good chunk of the action, it seemed as if the Eagles wouldn’t move the ball across the half-court line again — ten-second calls and intercepted passes were the norm for Calvary, allowing the Warriors fast-break buckets that sparked a 27-point quarter for the host.

Ironically enough, the press wasn’t the initial game plan. It just happened to be what worked.

“We’re not actually going to press a whole lot this season. We only plan to press eight to twelve possessions per game,” Baldy said. “Today we were just creating turnovers and I would have felt silly to jump out of it. We weren’t going to have that much focus. I was more excited to show off our press break.”

What Trinity (1-0) did show that Baldy expected was fight, determination and effort. Paige Dixon and Rachel Rosen crashed the boards with physicality and strength from start to finish, and the team’s defensive performance — led by a gritty Jaclyn Smith — was nothing short of daunting.

“Our defensive identity this season is non stop, don’t take our foot of the gas until the coaches tell us to,” Smith said. “You’re always going for the ball. You want to guard your matchup, too, but you always want to go for the ball. They might be telegraphing the pass, they might pick up the ball and need someone to throw it to. That could be your opportunity.”

“You have to do every little thing right,” added Trinity forward Leighton Croft, who led the team with 15 points. “The difference between a good team a great team is detail.”

The Warriors, despite playing their full starting lineup for limited minutes and struggling with timing on offense, put together a well-rounded scoring effort, with Croft, Dixon and Reagan Sharp all tallying double-figures, and eight players in total contributing points.

Smith attributes the team’s ability to share the ball offensively to the familial bond amongst the group.

“The bond that we have is like a family. We’re not playing for ourselves, we’re playing as a team,” she said. “That really helps with the focus on knowing when to pass. If a girl’s open, don’t focus on ourselves. Pass it. It’s about the team.”