MORGANTOWN – It was only fitting that a game like this ended with a prayer.
On Friday, the Trinity Christian girls’ basketball team dropped a 49-48 contest to Charleston Catholic when sophomore Molly Messer drove to the foul line and hit a running jumper at the buzzer.
“Our assistant coach just drew up a play during the timeout,” Messer, who finished with 18 points in the contest, said. “My teammates did everything right and I got the ball and just went to the basket, shot it and prayed that it went in.”
Messer’s shot ended a furious comeback by the Irish (3-1) during the Vision Homes Invitational hosted by Trinity. Charleston Catholic trailed 25-9 at halftime and hit just two field goals in the first half.
“We are kind of known for being a second-half team,” Messer said. “We need to figure out how to be a first-half team as well.”
Trinity head coach Mike Baldy saw his team build that first-half lead thanks to 14 points by Ella Lynch as she sank four 3-pointers in the first half. However, Lynch fouled out early in the fourth quarter as did fellow starter Sucora Brown.
That meant the Warriors (2-2) were forced to go to their bench.
“We didn’t have all of our best players on the court at the end,” Baldy said. “We need to give maximum effort and not foul. We can’t have that happen.”
Junior guard Jenna Barnett helped the Warriors cling to the lead most of the second half as she scored 11 points in the fourth quarter and led all scorers with 20 points.
Charleston Catholic took its first lead of the contest with 50 seconds left, 44-43, when Aurelia Kirby scored on a layup. Barnett answered right back when she drove to the basket for a 45-44 Warriors lead. Mary Rushworth, who finished with 17 points and 11 rebounds, hit a jumper for a 46-45 CC lead but Barnett calmly sank two free throws with nine seconds left to give TCS its final lead of the contest at 47-46. Then came Messer’s heroic shot.
“We knew it was going to (Messer) all game and we had Jenna guarding her on that play,” Baldy said. “I would do that 10 times again. (Messer) just got downhill and Jenna didn’t want to foul her. She made a great shot.”
Irish coach Wes Hevener said despite the slow start, he was focused on his team cutting the TCS lead in half by the end of the third quarter.
“I didn’t think the first half was as bad as it probably looked,” Hevener said. “I thought defensively, it was okay. We just looked like a team that had ridden in a car for two hours, but I thought our energy started to pick up a little bit in the second quarter and then obviously we got things going in the second half.”
The Irish face Webster County at 4:15 p.m. today in their second game of the Invitation while the Warriors play Ravenswood at 6 p.m.
By ERIC HERTER
Charleston Catholic 48, Trinity Christian 47
1 2 3 4 F
CC 4 5 20 19 48
TCS 13 12 11 11 47
Charleston Catholic (3-1)
Claire Mullen 0 2-2 2, Aurelia Kirby 2 1-1 5, Marcie Wheeler 0 0-2 0, Mary Rushworth 6 5-6 17, Sarah Rahin 0 2-4 2, Molly Messer 8 0-0 18, Katherine Skinner 2 0-2 4, Olivia Jonathan 0 0-2 0. Totals: 18 10-21 48.
Trinity Christian (2-2)
Jenna Barnett 4 12-14 20, Ella Rose Lynch 5 0-0 14, Sucora Brown 2 2-4 6, Kaylee Wimer 3 0-1 7, Abigail Fisher 0 0-0 0. Totals: 14 14-16 47.
3-Pointers – CC: Messer 2. TCS: Lynch, Wimer.