Girls Basketball: Trinity holds off Marian CatholicRiver Forest Tuesday 01.24.12. Trinity's Megan Podkowa (left) (13) catches a pass in front of Marian Catholic's Kauai Bradley (right) (25) during their game on Tuesday, January 24, 2012, in River Forest. | Buzz Orr~Sun-Times Media
Alyssa Dengler is known to everyone as “Mouse,” the nickname one of her youth coaches gave her years ago because she was so small and fast.
The Mouse roared on Tuesday night. Dengler, a 6-1 forward, drained two decisive three-pointers in the third quarter to lift host Trinity to a 45-39 Sweet 16 tournament victory over No. 17 Marian Catholic in River Forest.
Marian (15-9) had rallied from an 11-point, second-quarter deficit to tie the game at 26-26 on backdoor layup by Brianna Morrison with 1:43 left in the third quarter. On the following possession, the No. 3 Blazers worked the ball around and Dengler swished a three from the right wing.
Megan Walsh answered with a jumper for Marian and then had a chance to give the Spartans the lead, but missed under pressure and Dengler canned another three in transition from the left wing. Dengler, who hadn’t scored and had attempted only two shots up until that point, finished with eight points.
“We were getting on her because she wasn’t shooting,” Trinity coach Eddie Stritzel said. “(Those were) just two huge shots for us and I thought that was the game. I thought once we got those points we got control of the game.”
Indeed, the Blazers (20-1) increased the lead to 41-30 as Dengler opened the fourth quarter with a layup and Megan Podkowa, who tallied a game-high 21 points and six rebounds, followed by scoring her team’s next seven straight points, including her second trey.
“We really wanted to slow down the ball because they were trying to control the tempo a lot,” the Lewis-bound Dengler said. “Then we started running our plays more and then we started hitting our shots. Megan and me were both hitting threes.”
The visitors weren’t hitting much of anything in the first half, shooting just 6-for-26 from the floor despite getting a lot of decent medium-range looks and outrebounding Trinity 19-9.
“I just don’t think we played the way we can play tonight, so it was a little frustrating,” Marian Catholic coach Annie Basic said. “I don’t think the kids did a bad job on the defensive end, but on the offensive end we were in a little bit of a panic. We missed a lot of shots.”
Even so, the Spartans fought back within 43-39 on a rebound bucket by Dajhae Mullins with :07 left. But sophomore point guard Lauren Prochaska iced the game two seconds later by making both ends of a one-and-one.
Prochaska finished with six points, six steals and three assists for Trinity, which has won 13 straight. Taylor Nazon added six points.
Teniya Page led Marian with 10 points, while Alanna Ferry had seven points and five boards and Mullins and Ashton Millender each scored five.
“Our kids didn’t play their best offensively but defensive-wise I thought we were just tremendous,” Stritzel. “Marian is so talented but we just would not let them in the lane.”