Monday, February 12, 2024 | 6:28 PM
Trib HSSN girls basketball team of the week: Trinity Hillers
Coach: Kathy McConnell-Miller (fifth season)
Record: 8-2 in Section 4-5A, 18-8 overall
Last year: In the five years since taking over the Trinity girls basketball program, Kathy McConnell-Miller has had the Hillers vying for a Class 5A championship each season. Unfortunately, 5A was the same class in which the Chartiers Valley dynasty and a super South Fayette team have played. Last season, Trinity finished second in Section 4-5A, two games behind eventual two-time champion South Fayette. The Hillers were 15-6 through the regular season, but their postseason didn’t last long as they were upset by Woodland Hills, 51-40, in the district quarterfinals and fell to District 10 power Cathedral Prep in the first round of the state playoffs, 48-30.
#Earned: The Hillers entered the week only one game out of first place in the section but in a battle for second place with a one-game lead over defending champion South Fayette. On Monday at home against the Lions, the Hillers led by six points after one quarter but were held to single digits in the second and third quarters and trailed by four points heading into the fourth before pulling away by outscoring SF 19-9 in the final quarter to win, 52-46. That set up a battle for at least a share of the section crown Thursday as Trinity headed to Midland to take on once-beaten Lincoln Park. The game was close throughout and became an epic defensive struggle. The visitors scoring 10 points in the fourth quarter was the only quarter in which either team scored in double-digits points as the Hillers forced a tie for the section title with a win over the Leopards, 32-29.
Scoring stars: A young Trinity squad has been searching for that go-to player all season, but for the most part has relied on several players to contribute to the offense. That wasn’t the case in the home win over South Fayette as senior Ruby Morgan couldn’t miss as she pumped in 31 points in the six-point victory. Senior Agatha Niccolai added 10 points for the Hillers. In the defensive grind Thursday at Lincoln Park, point were hard to come by, but Trinity had two players in double-digit scoring with senior Maddy Roberts scoring 11 points and Morgan chipping in with 10 points.
Remember when: The Trinity girls basketball program has never won a WPIAL championship, but it has produced several silver linings in recent years. This is the eight-year anniversary of the Hillers’ first trip to the finals, a loss in the 2016 Class 3A district title game to rival South Fayette, 59-52. Sierra Kotchman scored 18 points and Mary Dunn had 13 points and 10 rebounds for Trinity. The Hillers reached the finals in the first two years under McConnell-Miller, and both times they faced Kathy’s brother, Tim McConnell and Chartiers Valley. Both times, the Colts galloped away to victory and district gold, winning in the 2020 finals, 58-40, then rolling past the Hillers a year later in the 2021 title game, 62-40. Riley DeRubba led Trinity with 24 points in the 2020 finals and Kaylin Venick scored 15 points to lead the Hillers in the 2021 championship game.
2024 Trib HSSN Girls Basketball Teams of the Week
Week 5 – Upper St. Clair Panthers
Week 4 – Lincoln Park Leopards
Week 3 – Elizabeth Forward Warriors
Week 2 – Aliquippa Quips
Week 1 – Norwin Knights