Wheeling Central finds offense in 2nd half to defeat Trinity 55-48

WHEELING, W.Va. — Wheeling Central used an 11-0 run over a span of nearly four minutes in the fourth quarter Saturday to seize control against Trinity and claim a 55-48 victory in the Undo’s Tournament championship at Wheeling Jesuit’s Alma Grace McDonough Center.

“We took some bad shots in the first half and bad shots will make you a poor shooting team,” Central coach Penn Kurtz said. “We’ve been struggling a lot with on the leaders on our team hurt in Hannah White. We talked about being a championship team and having people step up. I thought other players stepped up.”

Trailing 43-40 with 6:46 to play, the Maroon Knights (6-5) took the lead for good after a Tristen White jumper was followed by Allison Davidson’s 3-pointer. Leading by two, Central added to its advantage when Eden Gainer made a short jump shot and Kaylee Reinbeau scored inside, upping the Maroon Knights’ advantage to six points with 3:50 remaining.

Gainer’s leaner moments later made it an eight-point game, before Trinity (6-3) got 1-of-2 free throws from Reagan Sharp and a Kaylie Laskody layup to pull to within five.

But the Warriors made only one more field goal the rest of the way and never got the deficit inside of five as Central sank 4-of-6 free throws in the final 1:15 to help preserve its win.

Trinity took a 10-point lead into halftime after outscoring Wheeling Central 18-8 in the second quarter. 

Sharp scored 10 of her 13 first-half points during the second quarter. Her layup late in the half gave Trinity a seven-point lead, before Leighton Croft finished off the first-half scoring with a 3 to send the Warriors into the intermission on top 27-17.

But the Maroon Knights’ offense came to life in the third period and a 3 from Davidson cut their deficit to 31-28 at the 4:55 mark.

Gainer accounted for 10 third-quarter points, including Central’s last eight points of the period, helping to send the game into the fourth quarter tied at 40.

Sharp’s layup early in the fourth put Trinity on top 43-40 with 6:46 remaining, but the Warriors made only two more field goals the rest of the way.

After a 17-point first half, Central scored 38 points over the final two quarters.

“Better shot selection, more passes and the real key to our offense was our defense. We were able to get some turnovers and get some easy baskets and that was not happening in the first half,” Kurtz said. “Our team defense was much better and we took away (Sharp) as much as we could and that made a difference for us.”

Gainer led the Maroon Knights with 20 points in the win, 16 of which she scored in the second half. Gainer also added seven rebounds and four assists.

Reinbeau added 17 points, while White finished with eight points and eight rebounds. 

Sharp scored 20 points to lead Trinity, while Croft added 19 in defeat. Rachel Rosen grabbed a game-high 16 rebounds in the loss.

Trinity finished with 14 turnovers compared to seven for Wheeling Central.

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