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Lavelle's threes help Holy Trinity rally for girls basketball win

Holy Trinity Titans junior Meghn Orlando (20) controls

Holy Trinity Titans junior Meghn Orlando (20) controls the basketball during the game against White Plains in the JFK Classic. (January 24, 2010) Credit: Christopher Pasatieri

The Holy Trinity girls basketball injury report reads like the pages of an overindulgent horror novel.

Coach John Lipani's voice strained tiredly when he recounted the damage: Katie Poppe, concussion; Kelly Carey, broken wrist; Christine Montoni, concussion; Ataya Horn, knee sprain; and Kaylan Wojcki, "some type of virus. We don't know what it is."

Lipani paused as if to catch his breath. "Is that five?"

It's easy to lose count when Holy Trinity, which was an early favorite that, for the second straight year, has been knocked off-kilter by injuries to its starting core. But if the remaining ragtag squad, made up of sophomores and freshmen, felt the pressure, they certainly didn't show it Sunday at the JFK Tournament in the Bronx.

After trailing by one late in the third quarter, Trinity rallied to beat White Plains, 41-33. Sophomore Erin Lavelle made two straight three-pointers with four minutes left in the third to erase a 22-21 deficit and put the Titans ahead for good. It was Lavelle's first varsity game. Kirsten Korzevinski added nine of her game-high 14 points in the fourth.

Lavelle began the game shaky, Lipani said, missing four or five long-range shots, "but I told her, just keep shooting." Soon, the shots began to sink - to the tune of nine game points.

"That's what I love," Lipani said. "Those are the kind of players you want on your team." Lavelle also had a team-high eight rebounds.

It was a big bounce-back for Trinity, which snapped a four-game skid, capped by a loss to the near bottom-dwelling Our Lady of Mercy on Friday.

"We were down, but the beauty of basketball is that we knew [yesterday] was another game," Lipani said. "Sometimes, time is not a good thing."

Time does, however, heal most wounds. Carey and Poppe likely will be cleared to play by Feb. 1. Lipani hopes the squad will be close to full health down the stretch. Till then, Trinity will power through any growing pains and look toward the positive - the win against White Plains, emerging talent and the introduction of point guard Meghan Orlando, who gained eligibility after she transferred from Hicksville.

They'll need the help, with a difficult upcoming schedule that includes league matches against the top four teams in the CHSAA. Holy Trinity is fifth in the league.

Although things have admittedly not gone the Titans' way, Lipani insisted they were making the best of it. "Sometimes opportunity knocks and sometimes you've got to kick open the door," he said.

Even, it seems, if you have to patch yourself up on the way through.

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