HERSHEY — If Trinity dedicated the District 3 Class 3A championship game to one person, it had to be Aidan Finegan.
The team’s only senior had weathered quite a storm in her four years in Green and White, including last year’s four-win campaign. She hadn’t played in a title game, much less won one.
She has now.
Trinity won a gutsy, hard-nosed game against perennial small-school power York Catholic, beating the Fighting Irish 62-57 for the Shamrocks’ first district title since 2010 and their 14th in program history.
It had been 13 years since coach Kristi Britten had won gold, and it certainly meant a great deal for her. But Wednesday evening’s win at Giant Center was for the senior.
“It’s unreal,” Finegan said from the bowels of Giant Center. “This is probably one of the greatest experiences I’ve ever been through. This has been my sport my entire life, and going through four years of it, and all the hard work, and all the struggles we’ve been through, and getting this team this year has been one of the most unbelievable experiences.”
“I think it’s like really exciting for her,” said junior Sunshin McCrae, who joined up with Finegan from East Pennsboro going into this season.
Finegan did not own the game — that belonged to McCrae and Kassidy Ingram, another transfer — but she finished with four points and helped on the glass and with an assist. Her first bucket, early in the second quarter, tied the game 14-14. Her second came in the third quarter and helped Trinity extend the lead to 39-31.
“She’s just such a great leader and a great presence for us,” Britten said.
Four points, but crucial in a five-point win that was not decided until the final seconds.
The contributions of everyone around her helped her drape that gold medal around her neck.
Ingram caught fire in what proved a crucial third quarter. She went 6-for-6 on a series of turnarounds, jumpers and lay-ins, scoring 13 points during a 17-8 stretch that saw No. 1 Trinity (19-2) take a 47-34 lead with a few minutes left in the frame. She added five rebounds, three assists and two steals on the night, unofficially.
“She’s tough,” Britten said of Ingram. “She’s really a hard-nosed, true, post-up, use-my-strength-and-get-an-advantage [forward].”
“My girls were just great feeding me,” Ingram said. “It’s all them.”
McCrae was steady most of the night, finishing with 18 points and approaching 10 rebounds. She also had two steals. She was a nightmare inside, forcing her way to 11 free throws and making eight of them.
HERSHEY — It is said the only two things to be certain of in life are death and taxes. At so…
“It’s just been great because they’re able to share,” Finegan said. “They’re very selfless players.”
“This has been our goal since the beginning of the season,” McCrae said. “We wanted to prove ourselves and just finish.”
And even the youngest on the team stepped up. The freshmen class is highly touted, winning a CYO state championship last year. But the bright lights in Hershey can be unforgiving.
It didn’t faze Jaylin Moore (seven points, five boards, two assists) and Alana Boyer (six points, two assists, two steals), nor did sophomore Ava Stevenson (nine points, three assists) look rattled.
Another great @RocksGBB sequence. Stevenson (soph.) steals it, then dishes to Moore (frosh), who makes a vet move to draw contact. She made one FT that made it 28-26.— Jake Adams (@jakeadams520) February 28, 2018
Moore's big block came seconds after this. pic.twitter.com/259ar7LR0n
Boyer drilled two 3s in the second quarter, one to cut a five-point deficit, and another to give Trinity a brief 19-18 lead a few minutes later.Moore showed poise at the foul line with a chance to ice the game. She had missed two a bit earlier on the double bonus inside two minutes, but returned to the stripe with 15 seconds to play. Trinity led 60-57.
The guard flushed both, finishing 5-of-10 on the night at the line.
This was after Boyer stole the ball with YC trying to bleed the clock. Great play over the whole court. Jaylin Moore finishes it off for a 9-7 @RocksGBB lead after 1Q. First lead since 1-0 in opening seconds. pic.twitter.com/pqXExerCjL— Jake Adams (@jakeadams520) February 28, 2018
“The maturity and game presence that those two freshmen have, for being freshman, it’s unbelievable,” Britten said.
“She got it,” Ingram said. “She’s young, but she had it.”
Trinity was an efficient 20-of-35 shooting on the night, which significantly helped overcome a night that featured 12 turnovers, eight of them in the first half.
“It was really, really an awesome effort by everybody,” Britten said.
No. 3 York Catholic (13-13), led by Abigail Pilkey’s 18 points (four 3s) and four rebounds, shot just 18-of-56 from the field.
The Shamrocks open PIAA Class 3A tournament play March 9 against the District 4 third seed.
Email Jake Adams at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @jakeadams520
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