Trolls not in partying mood after ringing up end-of-year setbacks
Trinity Christian’s men’s basketball team picked up the pace in its last game before Christmas, but could not pick up a victory.
The Trolls’ run-and-gun contest with Judson finished with the Eagles on the top side of a 98-89 outcome. That dropped Trinity to 4-11 for the season and 0-5 in CCAC competition.
In some categories, Trinity did everything right. The Trolls held a 42-31 rebounding edge on Judson, and shot 50 percent from the floor, compared to Judson’s 46.7 percent. But Eagles went to the free throw line more often than partygoers return to the buffet, and took advantage, hitting 35 of 42 free-throw attempts, with Turner Schwarz hitting all 13 of his attempts en route to a 31-point game. In comparison, Trinity was only 17-of-26 from the line. Therein was the difference.
Judson (5-9, 2-3) had a 45-44 lead at the half — overcoming Trinity’s 14-point advantage in the last nine minutes of the half — and then led throughout the second half, though the Trolls were within two at one point. That came on Joe Hehir’s layup with 7:04 to play. It was 73-71, but Judson scored the next six points, and the Trolls could get no closer than four points in the final five minutes.
Jared Jones’ 19 points led Trinity, with Cody Rhorer adding 17.
Two nights earlier, the Trolls were dealt a 92-71 defeat at Cardinal Stritch, an outcome not entirely unexpected given Strich’s pedigree as the No. 3 team in NAIA Division II and the leader of the CCAC North. Stritch (11-2, 4-0) led all the way, paced by Derek Semenas’ 26 points.
The two setbacks combined with the Christmas break mean Trinity will have to wait until Jan. 8 for its next shot at its first conference win of the season. The Trolls will visit fellow CCAC North foe St. Xavier (11-2, 4-1) on that evening, following a New Year’s Eve contest at Lewis — billed as an exhibition given Lewis’ NCAA Division II status – and a non-conference road game two nights later at Benedictine-Springfield.
Record: 4-11 overall, 0-5 CCAC, 2-3 home, 2-5 away, 0-3 neutral. Leaders: Jared Jones 14.8 ppg; Ezekiel Odonkor 7.9 rpg; Jones 43 assists; Cody Rhorer 11 steals; Odonkor 16 blocks.
Schedule: Tuesday, at Lewis (exhibition), 1 p.m.; Jan. 2, at Benedictine-Springfield, 7 p.m.; Jan. 8, at St. Xavier, 7 p.m.; Jan. 11, at Calumet-St. Joseph.
Trinity let one get away last Thursday afternoon. The Trolls opened a seven-point lead on Judson in the early going of their final game before the Christmas break, battled the Eagles through a contest with a half-dozen lead changes and nine ties, but ultimately dropped a 66-62 decision to the Eagles.
It was the second loss in succession, following a 66-38 whipping by Cardinal Stritch two nights earlier. It also dropped the Trolls to 4-10 for the season, and 1-4 in the CCAC.
Trinity was in the game against Judson despite shooting only 32.8 percent from the floor and being outscored 23-7 from the bench. Making seven more free throws than the Eagles aided the Trinity cause.
Judson (7-7, 3-2) led 48-39 before Caitlin Cody’s layup with 13:40 to play triggered an 11-point run that included a Holly Boetsma three-pointer and was capped by another Cody basket to give the Trolls a 50-48 lead. The advantage was built to five points on free throws — Trinity was 16 of 24 from the line — before Judson rallied, with a pair of Diamonds making it rough for the Trolls.
Judson came back on back-to-back baskets by Diamond Williams, a timely three-pointer Kelli Ludwig, and a pair of baskets by Diamond Courts, the second of them from beyond the arc, giving Judson a 65-58 lead with 1:57 to play. There was no coming back from that.
Cody’s 20 points led Trinity. She and Brooke Bambrick (14 points) each pulled down nine rebounds. The Diamonds, Courts and Williams, scored 16 points each to pace the Eagles.
The trip to CCAC leader Stritch (12-1, 4-0), the sixth-ranked team in the NAIA, was in vain. Trinity trailed 35-16 at the half, shot only 26 percent from the field, committed 22 turnovers, was out-rebounded 46-32, and only Cody, with 13 points, was in double figures. The only bright spot was an 11-of-14 performance at the free throw line.
Record: 4-10 overall, 1-4 CCAC, 1-4 home, 3-5 away, 0-1 neutral. Leaders: Caitlin Cody 12.6 ppg; Cody 7.4 rpg; Allie Paluchniak 28 assists; Paluchniak 19 steals; Brooke Bambrick, Cody, 9 blocks each.
Schedule: Monday, vs. Spring Arbor at Indiana Tech, 4:30 p.m. CT; Tuesday, vs. St. Francis (Ind.) at Indiana Tech, 1 p.m. CT; Jan. 8, at St. Xavier, 5 p.m.; Jan. 11, at Calumet-St. Joseph, 1 p.m.