LOWER ALLEN TWP. — The Mid-Penn Capital is Trinity’s for the taking.
The Shamrocks handed rival Camp Hill a 61-48 loss Tuesday night in a raucous Trinity gymnasium, sweeping the Lions for the first time in years and effectively locking up the division title barring a startling late-season collapse.
Just about everything went the Shamrocks’ way — Camp Hill struggled to shoot, especially early, while Trinity shot more than 50 percent from the field. The team also won on the boards (40-27) and moved the ball exceptionally well (16 assists). And even though the Shamrocks coughed up 20 turnovers, Camp Hill rarely made them pay, converting only a handful into points and never fully capturing any momentum.
“It was really nice,” Trinity coach Kristi Britten said, reminded after the game by Aidan Finegan, the team’s only senior, that it was the first sweep of the Lions in Finegan’s tenure.
“I think it feels amazing to win as a team and as an individual,” junior Sunshine McCrae said. “Personally I feel like I had a good game, and I had to step up to be there for my team.”
The forward led the way on both ends of the floor, finishing the night 7-of-14 for 15 points while gobbling up 16 rebounds. She was on the receiving end of numerous feeds and played a good tag-team game with fellow standout forward Kassidy Ingram (11 points, five rebounds, two assists).
Camp Hill had no answer for the 6-foot McCrae inside. She bullied her way to rebounds all night, as did many of the Shamrocks — guard Aidan Finegan (6-foot) also had seven boards. With Passion Bragg (seven points, six rebounds) still recovering from an injury that sidelined her for several games and playing limited minutes off the bench, the Lions did not have the bodies to withstand Trinity’s post presence for significant stretches.
“They’re a really good team, solid inside,” Lions coach Mark Clarke said. “We don’t have enough size to combat them inside, and then they have great guard play, too.”
“They’re a really good team and they’re very well coached, I’d like to say, too,” Lions senior Diamond Bragg said. “They’re probably one of the top three teams we’ve played, especially this season.”
And just like in the season’s first meeting, Camp Hill struggled to make shots, finishing just 21-of-61 on the night. The team’s best sniper, Sheridan Reid, was held scoreless on nine shots, and outside of Bragg’s 28, no other Lion had more than seven points.
“Things compound for us when we’re not hitting our outside shots, then we get stagnant and we’re trying to do a little too much individually,” Clarke said.
Trinity capitalized on Camp Hill’s early shooting woes, building a 12-2 lead midway through the first quarter. Diamond Bragg willed the team back after starting 0-of-4 herself from the field, scoring all 10 first-quarter points to cut the Lions’ deficit to 16-10 after eight minutes.
End 1Q. @diamond_bragg goes 5-5 on her last five shots, including this J at the buzzer. She helps @GoCHAthletics stay close, down 16-10 at @RocksBoysBball.— Jake Adams (@jakeadams520) January 24, 2018
Bragg started 0-4 in the game. pic.twitter.com/1rxtPM8FZC
But the Shamrocks embarked on a 12-2 run again in the second off beautiful ball movement. Trinity had seven buckets in the frame, taking a 32-21 lead at halftime, and all seven came on assists. Inside-outside passing, feeds to the block, kick-outs — you name it, the Shamrocks did it.
Spectacular offensive half for @RocksGBB, lead 32-21 at the break. Outside of 8 turnovers. I have Trinity with 12 assists. 12.— Jake Adams (@jakeadams520) January 24, 2018
Here's Ava Stevenson with the off-balance buzzer-beater. pic.twitter.com/TIGled3Ouh
“I think it’s really fun,” McCrae said. “Everybody likes to see those good passes and execute the play, finish.”
“We talk a lot about that because we have some nice players,” Britten said. “It’s not realistic for all of them to average 20 points a game, which a lot of them came in wanting that.”
Camp Hill got more balance in the third quarter, and quick 5-0 run early in the fourth quarter briefly made it a ballgame with the deficit just 47-41. But Trinity slammed the door at the foul line, going 14-of-16 from the stripe in the final eight minutes to ice the game.
Bragg added four boards and three assists to her 28 points, eclipsing 1,600 career points at halftime.
“She’s just unbelievable, and you don’t want to give her that momentum,” Britten said.
The Shamrocks got 11 points and four assists from freshman guard Jayline Moore. Ava Stevenson went for seven points, three boards and five dishes.