Thomas Jefferson girls top Trinity for 3rd time this season
Saturday, March 9, 2019 | 10:26 PM
The third time was not a charm for Trinity, and because of that, the Hillers’ girls basketball season ended at the hands of a team coming off a silver lining.
Senior Jenna Clark scored 22 points as Thomas Jefferson pulled out a 50-44 victory over the section rival Hillers for a third time this season in a PIAA Class 5A first-round playoff game at Mt. Lebanon.
This loss ended the Trinity season at 12-13.
One week earlier, Thomas Jefferson was beaten by Chartiers Valley, 64-48, in the WPIAL Class 5A championship game at the Petersen Events Center.
“The girls have just been resilient,” Thomas Jefferson first-year coach Lisa Fairman said. “This week, we had some really good practices. These girls have been focused since the beginning of the season. They’ve been determined and relentless.
“After you walk away from the WPIALs for a couple of days, you kind of clear your head; we were ready to get right back at it.”
The game was close throughout. Trinity grabbed a 15-14 lead after the first quarter.
The pace of the game changed drastically in the second quarter as points became tough to come by with only 11 total in the second quarter that ended with the game tied, 20-20.
“After the first quarter we changed our defense,” Fairman said. “When we went man and started applying a little bit more pressure, we forced some turnovers.”
The game remained close heading into the final quarter as Thomas Jefferson led 31-30.
Both the Jaguars and Hillers continued to go back-and-forth in the first two and a half minutes of the final quarter until a Clark bank shot with 5:35 left put TJ up to stay, 35-34.
Moments later, TJ junior Alyssa DeAngelo’s 3-pointer gave the Jaguars their biggest lead of the game at five points.
Thomas Jefferson tried to kill clock in the final couple of minutes, but a couple of turnovers left the door open for the Hillers as they trailed by two.
However, after missing an earlier 1-and-1, D’Angelo hit two free throws with 15 seconds left as the Jaguars had finally secured the hard-fought win.
Fairman said she knew Trinity was going to be a tough opening-round opponent.
“They did a good job of trying to control Jenna and Alyssa throughout the game,” she said. “But great players like Jenna find a way. She came off two ball screens and banked those shots in at crucial points in the game. That just shows what a great player she is, how poised she was.”
Despite early foul trouble, D’Angelo added 11 points as the Jaguars improved to 20-7 and will now face District 1 runner-up Mount St. Joseph in a second-round game Wednesday.
More High School Basketball• Gateway’s Lexi Jackson looks forward to career at Kent State
• Westmoreland notebook: Belle Vernon freshman’s research project catches eye of WNBA
• PIAA tightens competitive balance formula for football, basketball transfers
• Belle Vernon freshman Viva Kreis gets behind-the-scenes look at WNBA
• Burrell grad Fantuzzo returns to coach basketball at alma mater