Trinity girls top New Canaan to keep pace in playoff race
Updated 3:04 pm, Wednesday, January 30, 2013
STAMFORD -- An injury to a starter can often be seen as both a blow to the lineup and an opportunity for someone off the bench to make an impact.
For the Trinity Catholic girls basketball team, the latter proved to be true. Making her second start Anne Margaret Eilertson added to an already effective front court, helping Trinity produce a dominating performance in a must-win game to keep pace in the playoff hunt.
Eilertson delivered 12 points, six rebounds and five steals, sparking Trinity Catholic to a 52-34 victory over New Canaan on Friday evening at Walsh Court.
Filling in for Nicole Fay, who is out with a broken nose, Eilertson seamlessly contributed and helped form an intimidating front court the Rams were unable to deal.
"Anne Margaret (Eilertson) had a great game," Crusaders coach Tom Kriz said. "We've been watching her in practice and JV games and she's been getting minutes for us. She stepped up so we're happy for her."
The trio of Eilertson (5-foot-10), Ali Palma (5-11) and Kate Spielman (5-10) combined for 41 of Trinity's points, as the Crusaders held a massive advantage in rebounding and second chance opportunities. Palma led Trinity with 18 points and 12 rebounds.
"It helped to have the three big people in today," Palma said. "It helps to have a triple-threat down low. It was awesome to see them step up. I've known Ann Margaret since fifth grade, so it was fun for us."
Trinity (9-5, 8-4), which began the night tied for the final FCIAC playoff position after losing four of its last six, kept its focus in and never allowed New Canaan to generate anything offensively. The Crusaders led 14-7 after the first quarter and grinded out the rest of the contest without ever being seriously threatened.
"We couldn't deal with another loss," Palma said. "It is what it is. We needed this game to help us in the standings; we want to make the playoffs and go far."
Coming out of the break with the game still in sight at 23-13, New Canaan turned to its main strength -- perimeter shooting. The Rams attempted 20 3-pointers in the second half after only six in the first two quarters. Unfortunately, the Rams only converted two of them.
"We needed to score, one of the things we're good at is shooting from the outside," Rams coach Kim Palmer said. "Unfortunately they didn't fall for us tonight. We were down and needed to be aggressive offensively."
The approach initially worked when Courtney Rogers' 3-pointer midway through the third pulled the Rams to within 10. However Trinity Catholic's Kellie Hurd scored seven of her 10 points in quick succession late in the period to put the game away.
"Trinity got all their points off put back and layups, it killed us," Palmer said. "It's something that we couldn't stop. We didn't do the little things; we have bursts of playing well but we just haven't been able to maintain it for four quarters."
Trinity Catholic will meet fellow playoff hopeful Ridgefield Tuesday, with each successive game having more on the line with only six regular season contests remaining.
"We talk about (the playoffs)," Kriz said. "Believe me, I told them we had to win this game because it's in our hands. And every time we face off against someone it's always the same. We have to take care of business."
Trinity Catholic 52, New Canaan 34
NEW CANAAN (6-9, 5-8)
Courtney Rogers 3 0-0 8 Elizabeth Miller 1 1-4 3 Briana McEwan 2 1-2 5 Kelly Armstrong 2 5-6 9 Georgia Hunsinger 2 0-0 5 Collette Pelligrini 0 2-4 2 Ali Reilly 1 0-0 2. Totals: 11 9-16 34.
TRINITY CATHOLIC (9-5, 8-4)
Ali Palma 7 4-6 18; Amy Hurd 0 0-0 0; Kellie Hurd 4 2-3 10; Erin Frederick 0 1-2 1 Siobhan Kirby 0 0-0 0; Nat Senoble 0 0-0 0; Kate Spielman 5 1-2 11 Anne Margaret Eilertsen 4 4-8 12. Totals: 18 12-21 52
NEW CANAAN 7 6 12 9--34
TRINITY CATHOLIC 14 9 15 14--52
3-Pointers: NC -- Courtney Rogers (2) Hunsinger.