The Trinity Catholic High girls basketball team had two golden opportunities to win in the final minute of its first round FCIAC playoff game against St. Joseph. Twice victory slipped away.
Leading 41-40 with 26 seconds remaining, Trinity needed only to kill the clock. But St. Joe's Jess Jowdy stripped the ball from the Crusaders' Ali Palma after the inbounds pass. Jowdy dished to Taylor Whiting, who put the Cadets up, 42-41.
Palma nearly made up for the steal, getting a wide open shot at a layup on the next possession. The ball rolled along the back of the rim into the waiting arms of a St. Joseph defender. Just like that, Trinity's FCIAC title hopes went up in smoke, losing 44-41.
"There were a lot of 'could-a, should-a, would-as' in this game. That's part of athletics though," Trinity head coach Tom Kriz said. "We would have liked to have won, but it was a fun game to be a part of."
The game entertained the enthusiastic Walsh Gym crowd, featuring the most hotly contested action of the four first-round games. Neither team could extend a lead beyond four points in the second half. Both teams played excellent zone defense while staying out of foul trouble. Trinity's offense was hurt by the absence of outside shooter Jovan Kingwood.
Palma had a stellar day until the finish, leading all scorers with 18 points. Trinity center Mackenzie Griffin played well down low, finishing with 14 points. But she was kept in check in the second half.
"Every one of my kids I could go on about. We're not a one-man team, and we played a very good game," Kriz said. "This is a hard pill to swallow right now, but hopefully [losing] will bring us closer together, and we'll be focused and ready to go."
Trinity (15-6 overall) will regroup for the Class M state tournament, which begins next weekend.
Do you think the Trinity girls can bounce back and make noise in the Class M state tournament? Start the discussion below!
Follow Eric Gendron on Twitter for the latest MSC sports coverage.
Click here to sign up for Daily Voice's free daily emails and news alerts.