VILLA PARK, Ill. – The plan growing up was for Taylor Nazon, Jetaun Rouse, Randyll Butler, Asiana Bey and Leah Bolton to all attend the same high school after attending Sutherland Elementary in Chicago.
When it came time to decide on a school, the plan didn’t play out. Rouse, Butler, Bey and Bolton chose Marist, but Nazon opted for Trinity.
On Monday, the quintet reunited, but this time as foes. In their first meeting as high school opponents, Nazon and No. 4 Trinity got the best of the Sutherland foursome and previously-unbeaten No. 3 Marist with a 57-52 win at the McDonald’s Shootout at Willowbrook High School.
If Nazon does ever decide to remind her friends about Monday’s outcome, her fourth-quarter performance would be a good place to start.
After Marist erased Trinity’s 13-point second-half advantage and took a 42-41 lead in the fourth quarter, Trinity turned to Nazon to calm the storm. She drained two 3-pointers in transition to give Trinity a 49-44 lead and later sank two free throws.
Nazon had eight points in the fourth quarter and finished with 15 points for the game.
“When we beat the pressure, we got nice shots, and Taylor just absolutely shot the heck out of the ball,” said Trinity coach Eddie Stritzel, whose team improved to 17-1.
The problem for Trinity was it didn’t always beat the pressure. Marist (19-1) got back into the game by forcing turnovers and creating fastbreak opportunities off of them. Trinity committed 14 turnovers in the second half.
Bolton and Rouse keyed Marist’s comeback. The duo combined for 23 points and five steals in the second half.
“I thought we scouted them and knew their sets inside and out,” Stritzel said. “I knew they weren’t going to be able to score in the half court. I just worried about the open court, and that’s where they hurt us. Stupid turnovers by us. It was all layups they got.”
Trinity’s Megan Podkowa, a DePaul recruit, emerged early and late in the game. She began the day by scoring nine points and grabbing four rebounds to lead Trinity to a 17-10 lead after one quarter. She was quieted in the second and third quarter, but then came alive again when Trinity needed her down the stretch.
Podkowa scored on an up-and-under move to give Trinity a 52-49 lead with 1:24 left and was 4-of-4 from the free-throw line in the final 7.8 seconds.
“Megan was double-teamed, and our perimeters didn’t play well the first three quarters,” Stritzel said. “They really caved in on Megan. It really makes it hard on Megan. To Megan’s defense, she didn’t get down, she didn’t disgusted. When she had an opportunity, she had a huge bucket for us.”
Podkowa finished with a team-high 17 points and nine rebounds.
Rouse scored a game-high 18 points. Bolton had 14 points and seven rebounds.