Trinity Valley avenges early-season loss to Salt Lake with 64-53 quarterfinal victory
LUBBOCK, Texas – Trinity Valley Community College used a strong start and a stronger finish to outlast No. 3 seed Salt Lake Community College for a 64-53 victory in the quarterfinals of the NJCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Championship Thursday night at the Rip Griffin Center.
Maya Singleton scored 17 points and Christalah Lyons added 14 in the win for the sixth-seeded Lady Cardinals (30-3), who advance to face No. 2 seed Shelton State Community College at 7 p.m. CDT Friday with the winner moving on to Saturday’s championship game.
“The girls were hyped for this game. They were really excited,” said Trinity Valley head coach Gerald Ewing, whose team lost to Salt Lake in the WNIT in November in Midland. “Just having eight freshmen, I’ve never had eight. I told them after Christmas though they weren’t freshmen anymore. Either you step up or you don’t. It’s fun but it has its moments.”
Naomi Davenport added 12 points for Trinity Valley, which used a 13-0 run to take control of the game in the first quarter.
Trailing by 18 at halftime, Salt Lake (31-3) cut the Lady Cardinals lead to five late in the third quarter after outscoring them 19-5 coming out of the break. But just as quickly, Trinity Valley opened the fourth quarter on a 9-2 run to push the lead back to double digits and the Lady Cardinals cruised from there.
“I’m really proud of our group that we came back and thought we made it entertaining,” Salt Lake head coach Betsy Specketer said. “We could have been buried and instead we fought and we worked and we competed and played hard and made it a game, and for that I’m really proud of them. A few things down the stretch, they made shots and we didn’t.”
Tilar Clark led the Bruins with 19 points and Iva Georgieva added 14 in the loss.
After spotting Salt Lake a 7-0 lead to start the game, the Lady Cardinals were nearly unstoppable, scoring the next 13 points before really turning up the heat in the second quarter.
Trinity Valley’s athleticism was evident from the start and too much for the Bruins to handle. Lyons, Davenport and Singleton combined for 29 for Trinity Valley’s 41 first-half points as the Lady Cardinals shot 41 percent from the field, 3 of 6 from 3-point range and were 10 of 12 from the free throw line.
Trinity’s focus was down low but the Bruins struggled to defend the 3-pointer as well. Maybe more importantly, Salt Lake struggled against Trinity Valley’s smothering defense.
The Lady Cardinals outrebounded the Bruins 26-14 in the first half and force seven Bruins turnovers compared to just one of their own. Those two factors helped Trinity Valley get 10 points off turnovers and 12 second-chance points.
Tilar Clark led Salt Lake in the first half with eight points and Iva Georgieva added seven. Trinity Valley led 41-22 at halftime after closing the second quarter with a 10-3 run.