It was not until the last buzzer sounded and the scoreboard displayed the satisfying result that senior Sydney Jaynes realized she had just completed her final game in the Bollinger Athletic Complex.
Although sectional play looms next Friday, there are no more scheduled home appearances for Jaynes after Thursday night’s 63-61 victory over visiting Madison.
“I didn’t even think of it until afterwards,” said Jaynes, who scored 24 points and grabbed 12 rebounds in a game that challenged the Cougars for most of the 32 minutes. “It’s sort of surreal.”
Trinity, the No. 1 ranked team in Class 1A, took on the Cubs, 10-11, a 3A school, in what has become an inter-class rivalry and a regular test.
Only briefly, when the Cougars burst out to a two 12-point leads did it seem one team might gain control. Otherwise it was a game-long battle. The big weapon for Madison was Jude Nutley, who wears 00 on her uniform, but who put 28 points on the scoreboard.
Jaynes is 6-foot-3 and Nutley is 6-1 and they have been teammates in AAU ball for years. It was that kind of bragging rights contest.
The Cougars led 17-13 after the first period and 29-26 at halftime as guard Bailey Tabeling and Jaynes alternated carrying Trinity’s scoring, and then came out of the locker room strong with a Jaynes-led third-quarter rally.
Jaynes hit a jump shot and then a low-post spinning move, and fed Emma Schepman for a wide-open lay-up on the run capped by a Kailene Cockerham three-pointer from the right corner.
It was 38-26 and 40-28 in that quarter before Nutley began inching the Cubs back into contention with her power drives to the hoop. A 3-pointer by guard Deasja Jay was a big shot, bringing Madison to within 47-44, and then the Cubs crept to within two points and even one point, though they never took the lead.
When it was 49-48 Trinity, Tabeling, who scored 22 points, nailed a 3-pointer for a little bit of space. Still, it was 56-54 with 53.7 seconds to go when Madison incurred a technical foul, which hurt, breaking momentum. Tabeling made both free throws and Trinity got the ball, too.
Tabeling, Jaynes and Cockerham (8 points) all hit important free throws near the end. Trinity, now 18-4 after the regular season concluded, safely led 63-58 with seconds to go when Jay scored another 3-pointer at the buzzer for the final score.
There was that one stretch when Trinity looked as if it might pull away, but then missed some opportunities and gave up some lay-ups to Madison.
“One stretch we were trying to run some clock off,” Tabeling said. “We rushed some shots.”
Only five players scored for Trinity. Schepman, with 6, and Liza Froedge, with 3, joined Jaynes, Tabeling and Cockerham in the scorebook.
Lang recognized it was a tense game, a good one for the win column and Madison showed better than its record.
“They’re playing their best basketball of the year,” Lang said. The time of the game on the clock was swift, but the time on the scoreboard dragged for him. “It felt like it lasted forever. “