Palma sparks epic Trinity comeback over Warde
Published 9:04 pm, Thursday, February 7, 2013
FAIRFIELD -- Down by 19 points late in the third quarter, the Trinity Catholic High girls basketball team needed a reason to believe a comeback was possible. It came in the form of a seemingly pedestrian 12-foot jumper by the Crusaders best player.
Ali Palma's basket only cut Fairfield Warde's lead to 17 with two minutes remaining in the third quarter, but ignited an amazing 26-3 spurt that resulted in an unlikely, yet character-building 46-42 Trinity victory.
After Palma was frustrated all night by a suffocating Warde defensive effort, you could sense the huge sigh of relief that came from the Trinity bench after her shot went in. Warde coach Dave Danko certainly felt it.
"That shot turned the game around," Danko said after his team's latest near-miss. The senior-less Mustangs (8-10, 7-9) have lost five games this year after building solid leads.
"Palma's an all-league player and you don't want to wake up a sleeping giant. They've got a lot of capable players but she's the ring leader and we had a good game plan to take her out. But that basket seemed to get them going."
Trinity (13-5, 12-4 FCIAC) added three more points after Palma's basket before the third quarter ended. Palma (13 points, seven rebounds), who put the Crusaders ahead 42-41 with 2:15 remaining, and Kellie Hurd (16 points) led the comeback. But Warde's defensive scheme was also thwarted by foul trouble as the Crusaders outscored the Mustangs 21-3 in the final eight minutes.
"Warde ran their defense well and they took out who they wanted to take out," Trinity coach Tom Kriz said. "I don't know if (Palma's shot) was the turning point, but after that we definitely recognized what we had to do."
"I don't know if it was that shot, but we have each other's backs, so if they stop me, I have to trust my teammates," added Palma who missed 11 of her first 13 shots before the 12-footer. "We have to show poise in games like this and we did."
Trinity closed in on an FCIAC playoff berth with the win while mathematically eliminating the Mustangs.
"This would've been a great win for us," Danko said. "We might have made the (FCIAC) playoffs. We just got nervous and committed too many fouls. But we'll remember this."
The Mustangs will certainly remember the first 22 minutes. They took a 12-3 lead and never let up ¦ until Palma's jumper found nothing but net. Up to that point, however, the Mustangs did most everything right. Led by point guard Michele Treglia (eight rebounds) and center Kaitlin McKenna (11 points, eight boards), Warde dominated on both ends of the floor.
But in the fourth quarter the Crusaders went to the line 14 times and forced seven turnovers. And after being outrebounded 37-19 for three quarters, they outrebounded the Mustangs 8-7.
"We showed character tonight," Kriz said, "and it's an important time of the year to do that."
TRINITY CATHOLIC 46, WARDE 42
TRINITY (13-5, 12-4 FCIAC)
Kellie Hurd5 4-6 16; Nat Senoble 2 3-4 8; Siobhan Kirby 0 0-2 0; Ali Palma 4 4-7 13; Nicole Fay 0 3-6 3; Wendy DeMartino0 0-0 -0; Amy Hurd1 0-0 2; Kate Spielman1 0-0 2; Anne Margaret Eilersten0 2-6 2. Totals: 13-40 16-31 46
FAIRFIELD WARDE (8-10, 7-9 FCIAC)
Michele Treglia2 3-4 6; Kenzie Burns 3 0-0 7; Mollie Kerrigan 0 0-0 0; Kaitlin McKenna 5 1-2 11; Tiara Fountain 2 1-1 6; LejlaMarkovic 2 0-0 5; Mary Kate McTague0 0-0 0; Rachel Maltz 3 0-0 6; Carly Strachan 0 0-0 0. Totals: 17-54 5-7 42
TRINITY CATHOLIC 6 5 14 21--46
WARDE 14 13 12 3--42
3-pointers: T--Hurd 2, Senoble, Palma; W--Burns, Fountain, Markovic.
Highlights: T--Palma 7 rebounds, Hurd 5 steals; W--McKenna 8 rebounds, Treglia 8 rebounds, Fountain 8 rebounds.