Local Sports, Sports, Trinity Christian

Trinity Christian falls to Wheeling Central in state quarterfinals

CHARLESTON — The Trinity Christian girls’ basketball team saw their season come to an end in the Class AA state quarterfinals on Thursday morning in Charleston. The No. 6 Warriors fell to No. 3 Wheeling Central Catholic, 80-35, in their final game of the season.

Kaylin Kurilko paced the Warriors with a double-double of 15 points and 12 rebounds. Central’s Kaitlyn Blake finished with a game-high 26 points and grabbed 15 rebounds. 

“Wheeling Central did a tremendous job defensively in the second half, and especially in the first half of keeping the ball away from Jenna (Barnett),” TCS coach Mike Baldy said. “In the second half, we would score and then get a few good rebounds and turn the ball over or miss the second-chance shots and that made it difficult to chip away at the lead.”

TCS senior Jenna Barnett opened the scoring with a layup after the Warriors forced a game-opening turnover and took a 2-0 lead. But Wheeling Central guard Haley Severns answered with two free throws and a layup of her own to give her team a 4-2 lead they wouldn’t come close to surrendering.

The Maroon Knights scored 24 points on nine field goals in the first quarter alone. Every starter for WC scored in the opening eight minutes while the offense for TCS struggled, going 3 for 11 from the floor in the first frame.

Kurilko scored four quick points for the Warriors to begin the second quarter that cut the deficit to single-digits, 24-15, but Central responded well once again and went on a scoring run of 9-2 over the next 90 seconds to extend the lead to 33-17. The Maroon Knights held a 41-26 advantage at halftime.

The Warriors had another run in them to start the third quarter and cut the deficit to 11, 90 seconds into the frame. But once again, Central Catholic responded and pulled away to put the game to rest. Trinity shot 1 for 28 from the field in the second half as Wheeling Central went on to advance to the semifinals by a score of 80-35.

The Warriors finish their season with a record of 19-6, as Baldy and his staff will say farewell to seniors Ella Lynch and Barnett. 

“This year has been one of the best years I’ve had,” Lynch said. “The young girls really were special to us. We had seven freshmen and they are such a great group. We had some new faces this year, too, and the way we all came together and bonded was so special.”

“I’ve been at Trinity since preschool and this past year has been one of the best seasons of basketball I’ve ever had,” Barnett said. “And it wasn’t because of playing well on the court, it was because of my teammates and my coach, who I’ve known since I was four. This team has been so much fun and being able to come to Charleston with the girls and have the time is something I will never forget.”

Baldy mentioned a special thank-you to the TCS supporters and fans for their efforts throughout the season.

“Trinity Christian is small but we are a great community,” Baldy said. “We get great student support and support from our community. It’s a K-12 school and the parents of the kindergarteners will bring their kids to our games and we are incredibly blessed and thankful for that.

“Jenna and Ella have meant so much to our program, when they started here they were two of nine freshmen and some of the girls went different directions but I wouldn’t have picked two better girls to have stayed and kept playing here. When we won our first sectional during my time as head coach there’s a video of us going crazy and on the end of the bench there’s a little girl with rec-spec goggles celebrating with us, and that was a four-year-old Jenna Barnett. Ella’s sister was the maid-of-honor at my wedding, her sister and my wife are best friends; it goes way deeper than basketball. Today, the end of their basketball careers transcends basketball. We lost today, but every team that makes it here is special, and our girls are special.”

Wheeling Central 80, Trinity Christian 35
TCS 11 15 9 0 — 35
WCC 24 17 23 16 — 80
WHEELING CENTRAL — Blake 11 4-7 26; Payton 8 3-4 22; Edge 6 0-0 14; Severns 2 2-2 6; Fitzsimmons 0 4-4 4; Maxwell 2 0-0 4; Miehle 2 0-0 4; Ratcliffe 0 0-0 0; Hanson 0 0-0 0; Schmitt 0 0-0 0; Dean 0 0-0 0; Robrecht 0 0-0 0; Ondrenjko 0 0-0 0; Nickerson 0 0-0 0.
TRINITY CHRISTIAN — Kurilko 6 3-6 15; Barnett 2 3-4 8; Moore 2 2-2 7; Williams 1 2-2 5; Lynch 0 0-0 0; Lohmann 0 0-0 0; Blake 0 0-0 0; Fisher 0 0-0 0; Dinkel 0 0-0 0; Stinoski 0 0-0 0; Flecker 0 0-0 0; Conn 0 0-0 0; Deal 0 0-0 0; Hopkins 0 0-0 0.
3-Pt. Goals — Wheeling Central 5 (Payton 3 Edge 2); Trinity 3 (Barnett 1 Moore 1 Williams 1)