Trinity Valley ousts Chipola 65-60 in a rematch of October opponents
LUBBOCK, Texas – A lot can happen between October and March. The Trinity Valley Community College women’s basketball team is a good example.
The Lady Cardinals lost to Chipola College in the second game of the season, but didn’t waste their opportunity at some retribution in the rematch on the biggest state in junior college basketball, using hot starts in the first and third quarters to hold off the Lady Indians for a 65-60 victory in the quarterfinals of the NJCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Championship Thursday night at the Rip Griffin Center.
“This is a good win” Trinity Valley head coach Gerald Ewing said. “Chipola’s a great program and they have some really good players. The girls were excited for this game. Teams get better in the end. When you play a Chipola at the beginning of the season, they’re great competition. Beside the turnovers, I thought we played pretty solid. They’re a good team but I thought we played pretty good defense in the fourth quarter.”
The win puts the Lady Cardinals (29-5) into the 14th national tournament semifinal in school history and just two wins away from the school’s ninth national championship. To get there, they will have to go through Shelton State College in the semifinals at 7 p.m. on Friday, also a rematch of last year’s semifinal won by Trinity Valley.
“They’re a great program and there’s a reason why they’re in the final four again,” Ewing said. “(Coach Madonna Thompson) does a great job with her team. They’re in the running every year and they’re one of those top five or six programs every year that have a chance to win it.”
If the Lady Cardinals can keep playing defense the way they did against Chipola on Thursday, they have a good shot as well.
Trinity Valley held Chipola to 35.5 percent from the floor and weathered the storm of nine 3-pointers by the Lady Indians, four of which came from Raven Baker-Northcross. The Lady Cardinals also withstood the inside presence and 19 points and eight rebounds of Danielle Garvin by outrebounding the Lady Indians 42-29 while outscoring Chipola 30-19 in the paint.
The defensive effort was what Ewing pointed to the most as the difference between October and March.
“Coming into the game all we thought about was revenge,” said sophomore Naomi Davenport, who led the Lady Cardinals with 19 points and eight rebounds. “At the beginning of the season they beat us by eight but we weren’t a defensive team at that time. As the season went on, we really took pride in our defense and today we showed what we’ve been working on the whole year and waiting on this moment to get our win back.”
Christalah Lyons added 14 points and Shakeela Fowler chipped in 12 for Trinity Valley.
A Davenport layup to start the third quarter gave Trinity Valley the lead to start the third quarter, and the Lady Cardinals never trailed again, building the lead to as much as seven at the end of the third period.
Malayasia McHenry hit a layup to put the Lady Cardinals up 58-50 with just under two minutes to play, but the Lady Indians chipped away at the lead, getting it down to two at 60-58 with 27 seconds left on a Barbara Johnson layup. But Chipola was forced to foul from there, and Trinity Valley iced the game by hitting 5 of 6 free-throws attempts in the waning seconds of the game.
Danielle Garvin led all scorers with 19 points for Chipola. Johnson added 13 and Baker-Northcross added 12.
“They just killed us on the glass,” Chipola head coach Greg Franklin said. “We missed some key rotations and gave up some layups there at the end that aren’t our normal thing. They made free throws and did a super job executing down the stretch. We missed a bunch of chippy shots that we normally make and we didn’t box out well.”
Trinity Valley had the hot hand to start the game, shooting a perfect 5-for-5 from the field with a couple of 3-pointer and 4-for-4 from the free-throw line to race out to a 16-5 lead in the game’s first five minutes.
But the Lady Cardinals cooled off, and that allowed the Lady Indians to get back into the game. Danielle Garvin had six of her 10 first-half points in the second quarter, and the Lady Indians opened the period with a 6-0 run to pull to within one at 22-21 with 6:29 left in the first half.
The Chipola defense held Trinity Valley to just nine points in the second period and forced 13 Trinity Valley turnovers, taking a 32-31 lead into the lockeroom at halftime. The Lady Cardinals finished the half shooting 43 percent from the field, and Chipola heated up to shoot 48 percent
Davenport and Fowler had 10 points each for the Lady Cardinals.