Trolls come up short
If basketball were a 30-minute game, Trinity Christian College’s men would have been 2-0 last week. But both of those Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference contests were played to the regulation 40-minute length, and that made the Trolls 0-2.
However, the losses to NAIA Division II 16th-ranked Robert Morris and Olivet Nazarene universities showed the continued improvement that was evidenced in Trinity’s recent wins over the University of St. Francis and Purdue University Calumet. That was especially true of the 51-48 loss to Robert Morris, where the Trolls led most of the way and were up by 11 points at intermission.
Their defense led the way, as it held the Eagles to 19 first-half points and forced it to take poor shots throughout — Robert Morris hit just 26 percent of its attempts for the game. The difference occurred down the stretch, when Trinity endured a five-minute scoring drought while the Eagles continually found their way to the foul line, where they sank 14 free throws in the second half.
The Trolls held a 40-34 lead with 10 minutes to play, but were outscored 17-8 from then on, with only Jared Jones’ game-tying 3-pointer providing a shining moment for them. Jones led Trinity (6-17, 2-10) with 13 points.
Their previous game featured the Trolls hitting a team-record-tying 12 3-point shots, but dropping an 85-78 decision to Olivet in Bourbonnais. It was a preview of the loss to Robert Morris in that Trinity was ahead by 10 at the half, but got outscored 55-38 over the final 20 minutes.
Still, the Trolls held an edge until five minutes remained, when a series of turnovers helped turn momentum the Tigers’ way. Trinity hit 47 percent from the floor, but failed to rally, thanks in part to an 18-of-30 display at the line.
Jones paced the Trolls with 24 points, while Ezekiel Odonkor added 11 rebounds.
• Statistics: 6-17 overall, 2-10 CCAC, 3-5 home, 3-9 away, 0-3 neutral. Leaders: Jared Jones 17.1 ppg., 21 steals; Ezekiel Odonkor 7.9 rpg., 18 blocks; Evan Pratt 55 assists.
• Schedule: Saturday, vs. Trinity International University, 3 p.m.; Monday, at Indiana University-South Bend, 7:30 p.m.; Wednesday, vs. Purdue-North Central, 7:30 p.m.; Feb. 15, vs. Cardinal Stritch, 3 p.m.; Feb. 19, at Judson University, 7:30 p.m.
The quest for a third conference victory also goes on for the Trolls women.
Trinity lost to run-and-gun Olivet Nazarene and Robert Morris, and stood where the men’s team did — at 6-17 overall and 2-10 in league adventures — entering this past Wednesday’s game at Roosevelt.
Saturday’s 71-63 defeat to the Eagles began inauspiciously in the form of a 9-0 deficit, and the echoes from that thud never died away. Only a 14-3 run late in the first half was able to make the score respectable — 31-29 — at the break. A similar surge by Robert Morris opened the second half, and only a late Trolls rally made the game close.
Four players scored at least 10 points for Trinity, with Erynn Schuh’s 14 leading the way, but shooting only 30 percent doomed the Trolls. Boosting their total of 57 rebounds were offensive boards created by bad shots.
The previous game against Olivet was almost a foregone conclusion, given the Tigers’ use of the high-tempo Grinnell College system that runs opposing teams ragged. Trinity has little depth, and against a squad that changed lineups almost on the fly the Trolls were up against it.
The most telling statistic in the 105-77 loss was 37 Trinity turnovers.
The Trolls led briefly in the early going, but it was 57-35 at halftime after they got outscored 18-4 in the final five minutes, and the locals never caught up. Interestingly, Trinity shot 38 percent from the floor, compared to the much poorer shooting in the subsequent loss to Robert Morris. Whether it was a byproduct of trying to run with the Tigers or a statistical quirk is unknown, but the Trolls’ 74-rebound night was definitely part of the concept of shooting first and thinking later.
Brook Bambrick’s 19-point, 14-rebound performance paced Trinity. Caitlin Cody and Holly Boetsma scored 13 points apiece.
• Statistics: 6-17 overall, 2-10 CCAC, 2-6 home, 3-9 away, 1-2 neutral. Leaders: Caitlin Cody 13.3 ppg., 8.1 rpg., 17 blocks; Allie Paluchniak 46 assists, 30 steals; Brook Bambrick 46 assists.
• Schedule: Saturday, vs. Trinity International University, 1 p.m.; Monday, at Indiana University-South Bend, 5:30 p.m.; Feb. 15, vs. Cardinal Stritch, 1 p.m.; Feb. 19, at Judson University, 5:30 p.m.; Feb. 22, vs. St. Xavier University, 1 p.m.
TRACK & FIELD
Downloads are all the rage, but the Trolls women still prefer records.
They cut four more Saturday at Cornell College’s Hilltop Invitational in Mount Vernon, Iowa. Victories by Ashley Jourdan in the mile run and Courtney Kalous in the 800-meter run established school marks, as did a second place by Anna Bos in the 3,000 and Nicki Jager’s seventh in the pole vault. Three other wins, by Andy Reidsma in the mile and by the men’s and women’s distance-medley relay squads, made Trinity’s first appearance in the Hilltop meet a huge success.
Jourdan’s time of 5 minutes, 24.78 seconds surpassed her two-week-old personal best. Kalous breezed to victory in the 800 in 2:22:81, while Reidsma’s clocking of 4:30.13 qualified him for the National Christian College Athletic Association national indoor meet.
The men’s distance-medley relay unit hit the finish line first in 10:46.95 and the women’s foursome did the same in 12:48.86.
Bos registered a 10:23.62 in the 3,000 and Jager cleared 9 feet, 6 1/4 inches in the vault, which met the NCCAA standard in that event. So did Jessica Disselkoen in the mile (5:30.56) and Erin Wessels in the triple jump (32-6 1/2).
The Trolls take this weekend off, then come back to the track at North Central College on Feb. 14 and 15.