Freshman McKenna makes most of unexpected starts
River Forest, 01/10/13--Trinity's Annie McKenna steals the ball from McAuley's Kristen Kleist. Trinity High School hosted Mother McAuley High School in girls basketball Thursday evening. | Jon Langham~for Sun-Times Media
Saturday Basketball: Trinity at New Trier, 1:30 p.m.
Basketball: Trinity at New Trier, 1:30 p.m.
Saturday Bowling: Trinity at Rockford Invitational, 8:30 a.m.
Bowling: Trinity at Rockford Invitational, 8:30 a.m.
Updated: February 19, 2013 12:33PM
RIVER FOREST — After working out with Trinity over the summer, Annie McKenna had a good feeling about making the varsity girls basketball team.
But what kind of role the freshman from Elmwood Park would have? That was too hard to predict.
Injuries led to McKenna becoming a starter this season. The Blazers (14-2, 6-0) returned three senior starters this season, but guard Mikayla Leyden tore the meniscus in her right knee in the fourth game and is out for the rest of the season. Two games earlier, freshman guard Maryam Wilcher had sprained her right ankle and would miss the next 13 games to the season.
Given a chance, McKenna came through with her most productive game in a 72-65 victory over Milwaukee Riverside Dec. 8 at Young scoring 17 points.
She topped herself Jan. 10 in a 64-57 GCAC Red win over visiting Mother McAuley. McKenna registered career highs of 20 points and four 3-pointers to help hand the Macs (13-5) their first conference loss. She followed with 11 points during a 64-41 victory over Vernon Hills (18-2).
“Every game and every team (we play) has made me more comfortable,” said McKenna, who entered last week averaging eight points a game. “It was kind of rough, but I’m getting used to it.”
It’s unlikely McKenna will move out of the starting lineup anytime soon. She is part of a four-guard starting lineup that includes Wilcher, Loyola-bound Taylor Nazon and leading scorer Lauren Prochaska. The only post player is senior forward Shannon McGinnis.
“In the first part of the season, kids need a couple of games to get used to the speed of the varsity game,” Trinity coach Ed Stritzel said. “(McKenna) has skills in ballhandling and shooting.”
McKenna played over the summer with the Celtics, an AAU team coached by her father John. The six-player team was made up primarily of McKenna’s friends from St. Celestine in Elmwood Park. Two others, Kaitlyn Aylward and Shannon Faherty, are playing on Trinity’s JV team.
She now belongs to a talented freshman class that has kept the defending conference champions in first in the GCAC Red despite suffering three serious injuries.
The Blazers still have managed to hold onto first place in the GCAC Red with the conference playoff beginning Jan. 28.