MORGANTOWN — The Trinity Christian girls’ basketball team suffered its first loss of the season Wednesday, falling to Class AAA Elkins 65-47 in its home-opener on Donald Paveko Court.
Elkins coach Matt Davis crafted a near-perfect defensive game plan that gave the Warriors (2-1) fits all night long.
“Matt does a great job with that team and they had a good scout on us,” Trinity coach Mike Baldy said. “They wanted to pack the paint and keep us out of the paint. We have a couple of good forwards and we have a really good driver and they kept all three of those inactive in the paint. We really struggled with that.”
The Tigers used that game plan to jump out early on their hosts, building up a 19-6 lead at the end of the first quarter.
Trinity rebounded to play even basketball in the second quarter, but the Warriors were haunted by mental mistakes all night long. Bad passes, slow feet and wrong-handed layups kept the Warriors from gaining any ground on the Tigers.
“It’s not just catching the ball, finishing shots and dribbling the ball, it’s mental fundamentals,” Baldy said. “But it’s a long season and that’s stuff we’ll fix as the season goes on.”
Both teams came out of halftime fast, combining for 37 points in the third quarter, but Elkins pieced together a 15-2 scoring run punctuated by an and-one from Celia Ricottilli that pushed its lead to 49-33 entering the final frame.
The Warriors played their best at the start of the fourth as they finally adapted to Elkins’ defense and poured in nine-straight points, including a three-pointer from freshman Hannah Turner.
“(Elkins’) key with their screens was to keep us out of the paint, not to keep us from shooting,” Blady explained. “We told the girls they’ve got to pull up and shoot. We need more girls that want to be playmakers and we had girls that were playmakers for that spurt.”
The success was short-lived, however, as Elkins answered with a 12-3 run that put the game away and propelled the Tigers to the 65-47 victory.
Baldy said he thinks many of Wednesday’s issues were typical beginning-of-the-year things and hopes his team will settle in as the season goes on.
“We have good players, but even our best players are stepping into new roles,” he said. “We start four juniors and a sophomore and the sophomore played very few minutes last year. Several of the juniors played, but they played in complementary roles. Everyone’s stepped into new roles on this team so I hope we’ll grow as the season goes on.”
Junior Jenna Barnett led the Warriors with 11 points while classmate Sucora Brown supplied 10. Kaylee Wimer added nine on three triples while Ella Lynch made a couple of shots from range to finish with six points.
Turner finished with five, the first five points of her high school career.
“She’s tough and we want kids on the court that are going to be tough,” Baldy said. “She’s shown physical toughness since the start of practice and tonight she showed mental toughness.”
Elkins was led by Gracelin Corley’s 17 points while Madeline Belan and Ricottilli both had 15.
Trinity is set to host its inaugural Vision Homes Invitational this weekend with 11 games scheduled to be played between Friday and Saturday. The host Warriors will play Charleston Catholic Friday at 7:30 p.m. and Ravenswood Saturday at 6 p.m.
Elkins 65, Trinity 47
Elkins 19 10 20 16 — 65
TC 6 10 17 14 — 47
Elkins — Corley 7 3-8 17; Belan 5 4-5 15; Lane 3 2-2 8; Ricottilli 5 2-3 15; Fletcher 3 0-0 7; Cigar 1 1-1 3.
TC — Fisher 3 0-0 6; Wimer 3 0-0 9; Lynch 2 0-0 6; Brown 5 0-1 10; Barnett 3 4-4 11; Turner 2 0-0 5.
3 Pt. Goals — Elkins 5 (Ricottilli 3; Belan 1; Fletcher 1). TC 7 (Wimer 3; Lynch 2; Barnett 1; Turner 1).