Girls Basketball: Trinity cruises to GCAC title with romp over LoyolaRiver Forest, 02/04/12--Trinity's Shannon McGinnis goes up for a layup between Loyola's Kathleen Stralka and Mary Kate O'Malley. Trinity HS hosted the 37th annual Girls Catholic Athletic Conference basketball tournament Saturday. | Jon Langham~for Sun-Times Media
Updated: February 5, 2012 12:17AM
Trinity showcased a stiffling defense it used to bludgeon Loyola 49-18 in capturing its second consecutive GCAC Red conference tournament title Saturday night in River Forest.
In a rematch of last year’s tournament final, the No. 3 Blazers limited Loyola to single digits in each quarter in an impressive all-around display before the start of the Class 4A state tournament. Trinity beat Loyola 39-36 in last year’s game.
Sophomore guard Lauren Prochaska ignited the offense by scoring a game-high 13 points and distributing three assists. Trinity nearly equalled the Ramblers’ game total by the first quarter. The Blazers connected on 6-of-12 from the field in scoring 17 points. They grabbed a dominating 28-11 lead at halftime.
Star senior forward Megan Podkowa was held to just seven points as Loyola designed its defense to stop her. Podkowa dominated in other phases by recording a game-high 13 rebounds and adding four blocks and three steals. Reserve Victoria Harris (5 rebounds) had six of her 10 points in the fourth quarter.
Trinity had a balanced scoring attack. Forward Alyssa Dengler (three steals) converted two three-pointers before the intermission, and Mikayla Leyden (5 points) also added a three in the opening stanza.
“That is where we are different. We have multiple kids that can score,” Trinity coach Eddie Stritzel said. “If opposing teams buy into having to stop one player, we kind of like that.
“We have eight kids that can go and go hard.”
Loyola (21-7) never led and simply could not sustain any offensive attack to answer the Blazers’ punishing defense. Trinity limited Loyola to just two second half field goals. Mary Kate O’Malley made two three-pointers in scoring a game-high six points for the Ramblers. Michelle Ricolcol managed the Ramblers’ only points of the third quqarter when she made a three-pointer with two minutes to play. The shooting woes did not improve for Loyola in the final period, as Carly Callans hit the Ramblers only field goal in the quarter with 37 seconds left.
“It feels really good, because we have been working really hard in practice,” Dengler said. “We are growing as a team and everything is coming together for us.”