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Wilcher’s return bolsters injury-riddled Trinity

01/14/2013, 5:49pm CST
By George M. Wilcox gwilcox@pioneerlocal.com

Trinity freshman Maryam Wilcher, who sprained her right ankle earlier this season, returned to action Jan. 10 against Mother McAuley.

Maryam Wilcher sprained her right ankle earky this season. Wilcher returned Jan. 10 for a game against Mother McAuley.

Maryam Wilcher’s freshman season for No. 5 Trinity wasn’t supposed to start out this way.

Wilcher sprained her right ankle in the Blazers’ second game of the season and was unable to return for another 13 games. Wilcher returned Jan. 10 for a GCAC Red game against visiting Mother McAuley.

The guard from Berwyn missed her first four shots and picked up two fouls in the first half to send her to the bench after finally starting a game.

Wilcher’s only basket in the 64-57 win over the Macs was a rebound and layup early in the second quarter to put Trinity ahead 24-9.

Her second half didn’t get much better. She missed her only shot attempt in the third quarter and made one of two free throws to finish with three points and one rebound.

“I felt 100 percent,” Wilcher said. “I know I have not played. I’ve rested a long time before making a comeback.”

Wilcher’s return was a rare dose of good news among Trinity’s list of injured players. Two other contributors will miss the remainder of the season. The biggest loss is senior guard Mikayla Leyden, a Chicago resident, who was the leading middle hitter for the volleyball team in the spring, but could not stay healthy for the basketball season.

Leyden injured her right knee in the season’s second game against Proviso West Nov. 20. She returned to score 27 points in the Blazers’ next game against Resurrection Dec. 1, but then injured the knee again in the fourth game against Regina Dec. 4.

Doctors discovered that Leyden had torn her meniscus and she had surgery Dec. 12.

“It’s tough because I know I can’t do anything to help the team whatsoever,” said Leyden, who started last season. “I can energize them. Obviously, that’s one thing I can do.”

Leyden joins one other teammate lost for the season. Freshman Amber Reese, whose twin sister Arielle plays for the JV team, tore her ACL in her right knee against Resurrection. Reece and Wilcher are among four freshmen listed on Trinity’s varsity roster, joining Annie McKenna and Kaitlyn Aylward.

“I don’t know of any other programs that do what we have had to do due to injuries,” Trinity coach Ed Stritzel said.

Stritzel has been forced to start his younger players earlier than planned, but the Blazers have managed to hold onto first place in the GCAC Red with the conference playoff beginning Jan. 28.

On Jan. 10 against Mother McAuley, Stritzel started two seniors (Taylor Nazon, Shannon McGinnis), two freshmen (Wilcher, McKenna) and junior Lauren Prochaska.

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