Propelled by a big first half performance, No. 9 Loyola held on to defeat Trinity (6-2) 50-42, winning their seventh straight contest and improving to 8-1 on the season.
While Trinity struggled to find an early offensive rhythm, due to the compact Loyola zone, the Ramblers came out firing, especially from behind the three point arc.
As a team, the Ramblers hit an astounding eight three pointers in the first half with all five of their starters getting in on the action to race to a 29-12 halftime lead.
“The way we started was great, really up tempo,” said Loyola head coach Jeremy Schoenecker. “We could have finished the half off a little better making a few more layups there but I thought we did a pretty decent job.”
Just like the first half, Loyola started out the second half with with a defensive stop, followed by a three pointer from Erin Dillon.
However, ice cold shooting and turnover problems from Loyola would slowly let Trinity back into the contest.
Led by freshman Makiyah Williams, Trinity pulled within 13 by the end of the third quarter. Williams put the team on her back not only with her scoring ability, but her instinctive rebounding led to many second chance opportunities for Trinity.
Schoenecker said: “The best part of our first half was how we rebounded. We gave them zero second chance points, but in the second half we gave them numerous second chance opportunities and thats why they scored as many as they did in the second.”
Throughout the fourth quarter, Trinity would continue to chip away at the Loyola lead. Turnover issues and poor free throw shooting plagued the Ramblers in the final frame, allowing Trinity to make it a 47-40 game with just under two minutes left.
“You know, a shot here and a shot there and all of a sudden it’s a seven, eight point game,” said Schoenecker. “We turned the ball over in some really bad situations and we have to convert at the free throw line, we were 9 of 16 for the game.”
Despite all the troubles down the stretch, Loyola’s defense stepped up in the closing minutes of the game and didn’t allow Trinity to get any closer, as the Ramblers would go on to take the 50-42 win.
“We started off strong and after a while we got tired and then mentally tired which is why we made a little more mistakes,” said Loyola guard Julia Martinez. “But we stayed together, stayed calm and did the normal things that we always work on.”
Loyola was led by Lilly Wehman with 15 points, Dillon with 13 points and Martinez with seven. Williams had a game high 19 points for Trinity in the loss.
After a busy week, Loyola will have a well deserved week off before they travel to Argo high school next Tuesday. Trinity will also get some time off before a tough matchup at home vs. St. Ignatius next Monday.