With four starters and 10 others with varsity experience returning, second-year Trinity coach Ron Donaldson is optimistic about his team’s potential this winter.
The Trojans, who finished last season 9-12 overall and 4-6 in the Chagrin Valley Conference Metro Division, dropped their season opener to a quality Madison team on Wednesday, but Trinity likely has better days ahead.
“I’m excited about our depth, experience, youth, and leadership from our two seniors,” Donaldson said. “We should have an exciting year and showcase how talented we are as a group.”
Trinity has plenty of talent to go along with size, quality guard play, and the versatility to switch up styles of play based on the matchups they’ll face.
“We will be challenged with being consistent day in, day out,” Donaldson said. “We are still very young, so we are about a year away from being mature enough to handle success without letting it affect our progress.”
Trinity’s returning starters include De’Oshania Bennett, Iniya Charlton, Neva’eh Harrison, and Jaila Wiggins.
Bennett is a 5-foot-6 senior guard who averaged 10.9 points, 4.2 rebounds, 2.8 steals, and 1.7 blocks per game last season on the way to earning All-CVC honors.
“Dynamic player who can play both ends of the floor with a high basketball IQ,” Donaldson said of Bennett. “De’Oshania can score on all three levels and guard the best player on the opposing team. I have challenged her with being the conference Player of the Year and an all-state selection.”
Charlton, a 5-foot-7 junior guard, earned second-team All-CVC honors after dropping 10.5 points with 5.2 rebounds, 1.7 assists, and 3.2 steals per contest last winter.
“Our best athlete, who led our team in points scored, rebounds, and steals,” Donaldson said of Charlton. “Iniya is becoming a great floor general and will lead our team at point guard. She is a two-way player that is on the brink of becoming a star.”
Harrison is a 5-foot-6 junior guard who averaged 5.0 points, 4.3 rebounds, 1.5 assists, and 2.3 steals per game as a sophomore on her way to earning honorable mention All-CVC honors.
“Neva’eh can play both ends of the floor,” Donaldson said. “She has a deadly mid-range jumper and has extended her range to the 3-point line. She is due for a breakout performance this year to complete our guard trio.”
Wiggins, a 5-foot-8 sophomore forward debuted as a freshman last year with 6.7 points, 5.0 rebounds, and 1.7 steals per game.
“Jaila is our most versatile player who can play inside and out and handle the ball,” Donaldson said. “Jaila is our wild card and can make our team elite with a consistent level of play. Jaila is set to showcase her full set of skills this season.”
Gabrielle Hemphill, a 5-foot-6 senior forward, rounds out the projected starting lineup.
“Gabby is an important addition to our team,” Donaldson said. “She is our leader, toughest competitor, and holds teammates accountable. She can rebound, shoot, and finish around the basket. Her leadership is priceless, and she will have a major impact on our success this season.”
Trinity’s depth will come from one junior, five sophomores, and three freshmen.
Jaynia Campbell is a 5-foot-6 junior guard.
“Jaynia is a great addition to our team and will bring 3-point shooting, defense, and a great positive attitude to our program,” Donaldson said. “Jaynia is improving her ball handling and is finishing more around the basket. She can start or be our sixth man off the bench.”
The sophomores include 5-foot-4 guard Kanora Bryant, 5-foot-7 guard Nilah Thornton, 5-foot-9 forward Isis Freeman, 5-foot-8 forward Charity Boyd, and 5-foot-11 center Trinity Johnson.
“Kanora is our captain and best leader. She sets the standard for what a Lady Trojan should be. She is a tough defender, unselfish player who has improved her offense, and will bring us great energy off the bench,” Donaldson said. “Nilah is fast, long, and athletic. She is a great rebounder who finishes well in transition. Nilah has improved her outside shot and will play a larger role in the rotation this season and help add to our depth. Isis is athletic, smart, and a fast learner. She will be an anchor in the paint as a shot blocker and rebounder. She is improving finishing around the basket. Charity has grown into a great screener, rebounder, and finisher around the basket. Charity has improved her mid-range shot and will provide toughness and depth on our front line. Trinity has great size and is an elite rebounder. She is a first-year player that has tremendous potential and will be a contributor this season.”
Trinity’s freshmen include Taylor Champman, a 5-foot-10 center, Isabella Dorsey, a 5-foot-1 guard, and Kenall Hughes, a 5-foot-5 guard.
“Taylor is long, tough, and aggressive. She will bring toughness, defense, rebounding, and shot-blocking. Taylor has made us tall overnight and is a great addition to our program. She is young but ready to contribute right away,” Donaldson said. “Isabella is a floor general that presses 94 feet and can score from all three levels. She is a great addition to our program and will add to our depth at guard. (Hughes is an) excellent knock-down 3-point shooter that gives us more depth at guard. Her shooting allows us to attack zone defenses. She is a great addition to our program as a freshman.”