Trolls men drop three more
The road to success is sometimes filled with potholes.
Trinity Christian College’s men’s basketball team has to hope they don’t get too deep, lest the wheels come off.
The Trolls dropped three straight games last week, losing a conference matchup with Roosevelt University before suffering back-to-back defeats against Indiana-East and Madonna University in the St. Xavier Thanksgiving Classic. The setbacks left Trinity with a five-game losing streak and eight losses in its last nine games entering this past Wednesday’s game at Viterbo.
The 78-65 loss to Roosevelt was the Trolls’ second in as many Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference outings this season, and was due to slow starts in each half. It took Trinity almost three minutes to score a field goal, and it was down by nine points quickly, en route to trailing by 13 at the break.
Aside from Jake Van Den Berg’s 3-pointer, there was another slump to start the second half, and the deficit was too much to make up against the Lakers. Van Den Berg’s 13 points led the Trolls, and while four players scored at least 10 points, the same was true for Roosevelt, which was paced by Kevin Priebe’s 23 and game-leading eight rebounds. The boards belonged to the Lakers by a 36-29 margin.
Friday’s 84-76 loss to Indiana-East was decided by a five-minute stretch in the second half, when the Red Wolves broke a 43-43 tie with a 10-2 run from which Trinity couldn’t recover. Indiana-East’s Tyler Fangman and Cody Banet scored 23 points each, negating the Trolls’ five double-figure men, of whom Jared Jones (18 points) led the way.
The difference came on the boards. Indiana-East pulled down 14 offensive rebounds while shooting 47 percent — and 62 percent in the second half, when Trinity shot 59 percent itself — and out-rebounded Trinity 37-33 overall. Aside from Ezekiel Odonkor’s 14 rebounds, nobody on the Trolls had more than six.
Saturday brought an off-key performance in the form of an 84-60 loss to Madonna. The 24-point defeat was similar to the others — Madonna shot better from the field (52-to-39 percent) and out-rebounded Trinity 42-26.
The Trolls fell down fast, as they trailed 24-6 and couldn’t recover despite 11 points each from Logan Vos, Odonkor and Jones.
• Record: 2-8 overall, 0-2 CCAC, 2-2 home, 0-3 away, 0-3 neutral. Leaders (through Nov. 29): Jared Jones 13.9 ppg., 25 assists; Ezekiel Odonkor 8.3 rpg., 9 blocks; Cody Rhorer 8 steals.
• Schedule: Saturday, at Trinity International University, 7:30 p.m.; Dec. 14, at Indiana-Northwest, 3 p.m.; Dec. 17, at Cardinal Stritch University, 7:30 p.m.; Dec. 19, vs. Judson, 3 p.m.
Roosevelt won the CCAC last season, and showed no sign of diminished quality when meeting Trinity last week.
The Lakers rolled over the Trolls, administering a 91-57 spanking. The loss was Trinity’s third straight, and it was a comprehensive one. Three more road games loom before the Trolls play at home again.
Trinity trailed 51-21 at intermission, closing the second-half gap from 47 points to the 34-point margin found at the finish by scoring against the Lakers’ second string. But the general theme of this season — and the previous one — continued.
The Trolls’ shooting percentage (34) was less than Roosevelt’s (48), and outside of a 46-43 rebounding advantage for the locals, the Lakers held the edge in every statistical category.
Caitlin Cody led Trinity with 20 points. She and Rebecca DeHaan (11 points) both pulled down 10 rebounds.
• Record: 2-8 overall, 0-2 CCAC, 1-3 home, 1-4 away, 0-1 neutral. Leaders: Allie Paluchniak 10.3 ppg., 23 assists, 14 steals; Caitlin Cody 7.1 rpg., 6 blocks; Rebecca DeHaan 14 steals; Brooke Bambrick 6 blocks.
• Schedule: Saturday, at Trinity International University, 5:30 p.m.; Dec. 14, at Goshen, noon CT; Dec. 17, at Cardinal Stritch University, 5:30 p.m.; Dec. 19, vs. Judson University, 1 p.m.
The Trolls (37-7) were set for at least a three-day run at the NAIA Championship, in round-robin play from this past Tuesday through today.
Trinity was slated to play Park University (Mo.) today at 1 p.m., following matches against defending national champion Concordia (Calif.) on Tuesday and Georgetown (Ky.) on Wednesday. The top two teams of that quartet move to single-elimination play beginning Friday.
The final match is Saturday at 7 p.m.
• Record: 37-7 overall entering NAIA Championship, 17-1 CCAC, 13-0 home, 9-1 away, 15-6 neutral. Leaders: Kaitlin Feddema 429 kills; Erynn Schuh 45 aces, 10.18 sets per game; Ellie Raebel 571 digs; Jessica Wiltjer 174 blocks.
• Schedule: NAIA Championship at Sioux City, Iowa: today, vs. Park (Mo.), 1 p.m.; Friday-Saturday: TBA.
The second-seeded Trolls (15-3-2) began National Christian College Athletic Association Championship play against eighth-seeded Houghton (N.Y.), in Kissimmee, Fla., and continued this past Wednesday against Azusa Pacific (Calif.).
The survivor from that three-team group was to join the winners of two other groups, plus the next-best squad from all three in the NCCAA semifinals on Friday. The championship match is Saturday.
Trinity advanced via a 2-0 victory over Judson, which was goalkeeper Becky Gold’s seventh shutout of the season. Abby McDonald (fifth goal) and Rachael Webb (team-high 17th) scored for the Trolls in the 20th and 81st minutes, respectively.
Gold made six saves, while Trinity put nine shots on goal against Judson keeper Sara Hoffman.
Houghton (13-3-1), a provisional NCAA Division III school, beat Mt. Vernon Nazarene 2-0 to also advance, while Azusa Pacific (12-2-1) won the Pacific West, an NCAA Division II league, but is too new to the league to advance to NCAA Tournament play. Thus, Azusa Pacific accepted an at-large bid after dropping a 2-0 decision to Point Loma in the NCCAA West final.
• Record: 15-3-2 overall, 9-1-1 CCAC, 9-2-1 home, 6-1-1 away, 0-0 neutral. Leaders: Rachael Webb 17 goals, 8 assists, 42 points; Becky Gold, 0.94 goals-against average, .845 save percentage (87 saves, 16 goals against, 6 shutouts).
• Schedule: NCCAA Championship at Kissimmee, Fla.: Friday-Saturday: TBA.