INMAN — The Trinity Catholic girls basketball team connected on 15 of 25 free throws to outlast Inman, 43-33, Thursday night in the Inman Sub-State semifinals.
Trinity made 11 field goals — six of them 3s — but connecting on free throws down the stretch was the key.
"We stepped up and knocked down some big free throws, especially in the fourth quarter," Trinity coach Ricky Snyder said. "We were able to take care of the ball against really good pressure from them. I was really proud of us for being able to take care of the ball, but also getting to the line and knocking down some tough, clutch free throws."
Inman took a two-point lead on a Lauren Maurer three-point play 17 seconds into the fourth quarter, but went without a point for the next seven minutes and 13 seconds.
"I thought we got rushed and turned the ball over," Inman coach Bill Maurer said. "We didn’t always make good passes, and didn’t get a lot of good shot looks. We kind of got a little flustered and a little hurried."
Inman’s only field goal of the first quarter came off an Emma Froese jumper 1:10 into the game. Trinity connected on two 3s in the final minute — one by Ryleigh Clifton and the other a buzzer-beater from Hayley Hughes — to take a 13-5 lead into the second.
A Meg Friday bucket early in the second extended Trinity’s run to eight unanswered points. The Teutons responded with a 7-0 run, capped off by a Lauren Maurer layup off a nice assist from Rachel Harman.
Harman made a nice move inside the post and connected on a layup with three seconds left to tie the game at 17 heading into halftime.
Maurer opened the second half with an and-one layup off an assist from Froese, to give the Teutons a 20-17 lead — their first lead since the score was 2-0.
Becca Hammersmith put Trinity back on top with a 3 midway through the third. When Inman’s Ashtyn Schroeder knocked down a 3 with 39 seconds left in the third, Hammersmith responded with a running floater to give the Celtics a 29-28 lead entering the fourth.
Hammersmith hit another big 3 in the fourth to extend the lead to five. From there, Trinity put the Teutons away from the free-throw line.
In a hostile environment, Trinity picked up a hard-earned win to keep its season alive.
"We talked before the game that it would be an atmosphere and it would be a roller coaster," Snyder said. "We just had to ride through the highs and through the lows and stay solid. I was really proud of the way our defense stepped up down the stretch."
Hughes and Hammersmith led all scorers with 14 points apiece. The Celtics will face Sterling at 6 p.m. Saturday at Inman High School for a sub-state championship and a berth at the state tournament.
Sterling is reigning Class 2A state runner-up and 2-0 against Trinity this season.
"It’s going to be a tough task, but we’re excited for the opportunity," Snyder said. "We’re going to play our tails off and see where we fall at the end of the game."
Maurer had eight points to lead Inman, while Harman, Dantlie Raney and Raegan Brake all had six. The Teutons’ senior class of Froese, Schroeder, Maurer and Harman reached the state tournament in 2018 and went 18-4 in 2019, falling to Sterling in last year’s sub-state championship.
"I believe they left a legacy of being a winner," Bill Maurer said. "They really changed our culture here. I believe they’ve taught our younger kids how to win, how to be successful, and I know they’re going to be successful in everything they do moving forward."