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River Forest, 01/10/13--Trinity's Annie McKenna passes to an open teammate during a fast break. Trinity High School hosted Mother McAuley High School in girls basketball Thursday evening. | Jon Langham~for Sun-Times Media
Trinity coach Ed Stritzel prepared his team to do whatever it took to keep Mother McAuley guard Alyssa Siwek from scoring anywhere near 37 points again.
That was Siwek’s total in McAuley’s previous game, an upset win over No. 7 Marist Jan. 8. But No. 5 Trinity limited Siwek to 12 points on 3-of-9 shooting in a 64-57 victory Thursday night to determine sole possession of first place in the GCAC Red.
The defending conference champion Blazers (13-2, 5-0) scored 18 of the first 23 points to open the game and freshman guard Annie McKenna scored season highs of 20 points and four 3-pointers to set up Saturday’s showdown at 2:30 p.m. Saturday against No. 14 Vernon Hills (17-1) in River Forest.
“They are a very good team,” McKenna said. “In the first quarter, we created some steals. The first quarter is definitely the way we play. The third and fourth quarter was not like us.”
Trinity did not score a basket in the final five minutes, but shot 9-of-12 free throws during that span to stay ahead. The Blazers led 22-7 early in the second quarter, 39-22 at halftime, but lost their large lead in the fourth quarter.
The Macs (13-5, 3-1) pulled to within five points four times in the quarter. Siwek’s only basket in the second half, a driving layup, pulled McAuley to within 60-55 with 1:28 remaining, but Siwek fouled out 22 seconds later.
She had 16 points in the fourth quarter of McAuley’s 79-67 victory over Marist.
“I thought we’d bring that emotion into this game,” McAuley coach Ashley Luke Clanton said. “We came in off that high. I was hoping we were capable (of it again).”
Trinity freshman Maryam Wilcher started the game, making her first appearance since suffering a sprained right ankle in the second game of the season. She scored three points and had one rebound. Her only basket came with 7:23 to go in the second quarter when her rebound and layup gave the Blazers a 24-9 lead.
“We are pretty deep and pretty talented,” Stritzel said. “Our freshmen are as good as advertised.”
The game turned into a slugfest in the second half with four players competing with four fouls. Siwek was the only player to foul out. Loyola-bound Taylor Nazon had 17 points, including 9 of 13 at the line, for the Blazers while Shannon McGinnis (eight rebounds) and Lauren Prochaska scored 12 points each.
Lauren Carlson (nine rebounds) led the Macs with 14 points and Elizabeth Nye added 11.
The Blazers scored 15 consecutive points in the first quarter after McAuley took a 5-3 lead. Trinity went on a 10-2 run to open the second quarter.