Riley DeRubbo stars for Trinity in win over Thomas Jefferson

Monday, January 13, 2020 | 10:24 PM

Last year, Thomas Jefferson, as part of a 22-win season in girls basketball, beat Trinity three times.

Thomas Jefferson won twice in the regular season and in the first round of the state playoffs, including a 72-41 triumph at Hiller Hall.

That Trinity team didn’t have its best player, Riley DeRubbo, a Fordham commit, who missed all of last season with an ACL injury.

The result was different this time around, as the two met for the first time this season Monday night, with No. 3 Trinity closing the first circuit of section play with a 61-50 win over the Jaguars.

DeRubbo and Alyssa DeAngelo, a senior for the Jaguars, both hit 1,000 career points in the game, which was deadlocked at 20 at the half, before an 18-10 third quarter put Trinity ahead for good. It never got closer than four points after that.

“It was a game between two talented teams, and it’s great for everyone to see a well-played game between those teams,” said first-year Hillers coach Kathy McConnell-Miller. “Riley did such a great job on the boards on both ends, and she did a great job defensively and scoring as well.”

DeRubbo’s milestone came with her 18th point, which was a free throw, her sixth make of the game. She finished with 20 points, eight of which came on nine chances at the stripe. Trinity (10-2, 6-1) now has second place to themselves for the time being in Section 1-5A. DeRubbo is the 10th Hillers girls basketball player all time to reach 1,000 points, the fourth since 2016.

“I credit her parents, I credit Riley for how hard she works, and I credit Bob Miles. I think he did an exceptional job with this program,” said McConnell-Miller. “I was fortunate to inherit a bunch of great players, but at this moment, most importantly, Riley. She’s in the gym and she’s dedicated herself to be a go-to player and a top player in the WPIAL, and I believe she is.”

For the Hillers, Courtney Dahlquist, a junior forward, and Ashley Durig, a junior guard, were both in double figures as well, scoring 13 and 12, respectively.

DeAngelo’s 1,000th point came on a jumper midway through the second period.

“For any player, both her and Riley, who’s a great kid too, it’s a special moment. They’re both going to go off and do great things in college,” said Thomas Jefferson coach Lisa Fairman. “It’s a great night for both of them to reach a milestone many athletes can only dream of.”

The turning point of the game in a lot of senses was the 18-10 third quarter. The fourth was 23-20 in favor of the victorious Hillers, but it was a few-minute stretch that Fairman said her team can’t have in Section 1-5A.

Thomas Jefferson (10-4, 5-2) was led by Graci Fairman’s 16 points, which included four triples. Three of those came in the fourth quarter. DeAngelo, who ended the night with nine points, was held to just two points in the second half.

Molly Wagner, who has been a big piece of the Jaguars’ team in her four years, suffered a torn ACL and is out for the season.

“We didn’t play a great third quarter. We didn’t rebound well and we had a couple breakdowns defensively,” said Fairman. “We didn’t get on the (offensive) boards like we should either. Quite honestly, we have to play four great quarters. You can’t have lapses in this section. You can’t give teams two-minute stretches to go on runs.”

For the Hillers, the success will continue, according to McConnell-Miller, if the experienced group continues to find ways to score, be aggressive and play with a “no-let up attitude.”

“We need to get better in full-court pressure. I think there’s a little let-up sometimes,” said McConnell-Miller. “On the offensive end, we get impatient sometimes too.”

Thomas Jefferson hosts Moon on Thursday, while Trinity will travel to West Allegheny.

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