It took a little while for the Holy Trinity girls basketball team to get going Thursday night.
But once the Tigers started rolling, there wasn’t anything the Heritage Panthers could do about it.
Led by seventh-grader Leila Bryant’s 17 points, Holy Trinity came away with a 49-30 victory over the visiting Heritage Panthers in a non-district matchup.
“I thought we played very well,” senior point guard Marissa Cloud said. “(They are) a very aggressive team and we had numbers out so we had to step it up. I think we did very well with that.”
Holy Trinity was without starters Alinah Sarratt and Hailee Mokwe Thursday night, which made playing a physical, aggressive Heritage team that also had a size advantage a big challenge for the Tigers, especially early on.
Not only did Holy Trinity miss a couple of early shots, but Cloud picked up a couple of early fouls and the Tigers seemed to be out of sorts early on as the Panthers built a 6-0 lead.
But then Bryant the first of her five 3-pointers and suddenly the tables started to turn as Holy Trinity got into a flow and started to force Heritage to speed up its game, which created turnovers and more scoring opportunities for the Tigers. Holy Trinity scored the final 14 points of the quarter.
“I think when Leila hit that shot, it brought everyone together,” senior guard Rieth said. “And then we got calm throughout the game instead of letting them rush us.
“… I think we were moving too fast (early on) and then when we settled in, the game was in our hands.”
Rieth finished with seven points on the night for Holy Trinity. Sophomore Izzy Henderson also had seven points. Junior Allison LaGrone had six.
The Tigers also got solid play from senior guard Kiki Norris and sophomore guard Savannah Schultz on the way to keeping their perfect record intact.
“I think it’s a big, gritty win for us being that we were down some key players tonight,” Holy Trinity coach Will Gibson said. “It was physical, but a lot of young girls, a lot of people coming off the bench stepped up tonight.
“I feel like we got better. We got challenged. That’s good moving into the rest of our games this year.”
With a lineup that features a nice mixture of returners from last year’s team that went 20-8 and reached the Class 3A regional final and a crop of newcomers that looks like they will have a big impact, the Tigers are looking pretty formidable once again.
But as the team continues to come together, Gibson would like to see the Tigers get off to better starts.
“The biggest thing for them … and I’ve challenged them … is for us to be a lot better in our first quarters,” he said. “We started a little slow (tonight), but then we picked it up and we were able to speed them up and play our game.
“That’s what I was waiting for. I was waiting for us to turn the corner and start playing our game and then we immediately started doing that. So, that’s good.”