WEST MANCHESTER TWP. — Trinity hasn’t claimed a district title in girls basketball since winning back-to-back crowns in 2009 and 2010.
But the Shamrocks will have a chance to end that drought thanks to a 61-53 victory over Pequea Valley in the District 3 Class 3A semifinals Friday at West York High School.
It will also be the team’s first appearance in the title game since 2010 and follows a season in which they went 4-17 and missed the playoffs completely in 2017.
No. 1 Trinity (18-2) will face No. 3 York Catholic (13-12) in the title tilt after the Fighting Irish’s 57-48 win over Delone Catholic on Friday. The Irish will be making their 13th straight district final appearance. That title game will be contested at Giant Center on Wednesday at 5:30 p.m.
“We’re going to have play a smart, consistent game at both ends of the floor against York Catholic,” Trinity head coach Kristi Britten said. “We beat them at the beginning of the season, but they’re a very good team that is playing very well in recent weeks.”
Trinity looked to be on its way to a blowout victory in its playoff opener, as the Shamrocks ripped off the final 18 points of the opening quarter and led 20-3 when Ava Stevenson scored just before the buzzer.
Stevenson put in seven points in the opening quarter, and Sunshine McCrae pitched in with six points and six boards to stake the Shamrocks to the big lead.
“We got into a good rhythm early and hit some shots that allowed us to build a lead,” Britten said.
It wasn’t nearly as easy in the second quarter, though.
Trailing 23-3 following Stevenson’s 3-pointer to open the second quarter, the Braves slapped together a 22-3 run of their own and narrowed the deficit to 26-25 when Abbey Leslie scored in transition with 1:48 to go until intermission.
Trinity led 28-26 at the break and struggled to shake Pequea Valley until late in the third quarter.
The lead stood at 36-33 following Bethany Bills’ trifecta for the Braves with 3:52 to go in the frame.
But Shamrock senior Aidan Finegan jump-started an 8-0 run with back-to-back buckets, though the Braves sliced their deficit to 44-37 when Bills scored at the buzzer to make it 44-37.
Finegan posted 15 points to go along with seven boards to aid in the win.
“Aidan is our only senior and she has a good head on her shoulders,” Britten said. “She’s a leader. She played smart tonight and hit some big shots.”
Pequea Valley (13-11) kept it interesting in the fourth and trailed 49-43 following Caroline Horst’s hoop with 3:48 to play.
The lead opened up to 55-43, but the Braves had one final push that saw them close the lead to 55-49 with 1:16 remaining.
Trinity made 6-of-8 from the foul line in the final 70 seconds to salt the game away.
Stevenson paced the winners with 18 points, while McCrae hung 13 on the board and gathered 12 boards before fouling out with 55 seconds to play.
Sommer Reeser was the high scorer for the Braves with 15 points, though she finished four points below her season average and shot 5-of-14 from the field in the game.
“A lot of credit goes to Pequea Valley for fighting back,” Britten said. “They fought for every possession, they played tough defense and we had to fight to win tonight.”