Meghan Trenholm does not say much. When it comes to emotion, she does not show much either.
Trenholm need not say a word. Neumann coach Steve Sholder can tell when his standout guard is about to do something big. And he saw it early in the fourth quarter Thursday night at the Catholic Community Center.
After Bucktail had cut a huge deficit to nine, Trenholm took over. First, she swished a 3-pointer, then she grabbed four straight rebounds, made a steal, scored five straight points and gave her team a 19-point lead just 90 seconds after Bucktail had made it a nine-point game.
Trenholm's performance spoke big as she scored 23 points, grabbed 14 rebounds, made eight steals and dealt five assists while leading Neumann to an entertaining 69-50 win. Neumann (6-1) is off to the second-best start in program history and Trenholm, the area's second-leading scorer, has 49 points, 40 rebounds and 18 steals in two wins over Bucktail.
"I expect to at least build that confidence in all my teammates," Trenholm said. "If we are down I try and give them that push to keep going and keep fighting."
Trenholm was one of several Knights who played well. Point guard Emily Sholder ran the floor well, scored 17 points, grabbed six rebounds and dealt six assists. Rachel Danneker scored a career-high 15 points and Emily Sheleman grabbed eight rebounds.
Neumann needed that kind of well-rounded effort to offset Bucktail point guard Maria Morgan's spectacular performance. Morgan scored 25 points, dealt 12 assists, made eight steals and remarkably had a hand in all 50 points.
Morgan fed Meridith Blessard early in the fourth quarter that capped an 11-0 run and made it a nine-point game. But when Neumann needed a jolt most, Trenholm was there to deliver it, swishing a 3-pointer just 12 seconds later. Ninety seconds later, Neumann had its third straight win.
"Meghan doesn't talk much and nothing bothers Meghan but you can see it in her eyes that she's ready to take over and she did a heck of a job," Steve Sholder said. "She does that. We know we can count on her to make a steal, lead the break and the 3 that she hit was huge. She came back and said, 'OK, you're going to do that to us, we're going to come right back at you.'"
Early on it did not look like Neumann would need a player to take over in the fourth quarter. The Knights built an 18-point first-quarter lead and pushed it to 26-4 in the second-quarter's opening minute when Trenholm fed Baylie Gerrity for a layup. Neumann looked as good as it has all season during that time as six different players scored and hit 12 of 22 shots.
Danneker delivered a rousing National Anthem during the pregame and then turned in a melodic performance, hitting 5 of her last 9 shots, grabbing five rebounds and giving the Knights another weapon.
"All of our teammates are stepping up, especially Rachel," Trenholm said.
"We think we can get 40 points out of Meghan and Emily every game and tonight we did, but the thing we need to really get us to step up to the next level is get the other kids involved," Steve Sholder said. "Baylie is starting to come on, Emily Sheleman does a nice job and Rachel stepped up big time tonight and that was key for us."
Morgan was dazzling, whether scoring points in bunches or feeding her teammates for good shots. The sophomore point guard is averaging more than 30 points per game but when she was constantly double teamed and swarmed she constantly found the open player. Had Bucktail had a better outside shooting night, she might have had more than 20 assists.
Neumann held Morgan scoreless three minutes into the second quarter but over the final five minutes she scored 15 points and intercepted an inbounds pass with 2.6 seconds remaining before hitting a buzzer-beating 3-pointer that made it a 13-point game at halftime.
"It makes you feel like you're playing as a team when you're assisting. We're young so they're going to fall sooner or later," Morgan said. "It's good experience and we're just going to learn from here and get better each game."
Morgan is one of four sophomores starting for the Bucks (2-5). Bucktail has lost three straight but has been in every game and shows a lot of fight. It nearly erased all of a 22-point halftime deficit against Millville and had Neumann on the ropes after it looked like it might be a mercy-rule game early. Meridith Blessard scored nine points and Emily Shearer had eight points and 10 rebounds.
"They have a lot of ball to play and they're coming along. They've gotten some good learning experience and they're doing a good job," Bucktail coach Carl Gentzyel said. "They don't give up. They all will definitely try their best and that's what I'm proud of."
Maria Morgan 9 3-5 25, Meridith Blessard 4 0-0 9, Natasha Peck 0 0-2 0, Emily Shearer 4 0-6 8, Tiffany Werts 1 0-0 2, Alaina Tripp 2 0-0 4, McKayla Fleisher 1 0-0 2. Totals 21 3-13 50.
Meghan Trenholm 7 7-7 23, Emily Sholder 7 3-4 17, Emily Sheleman 2 0-0 4, Rachel Danneker 5 4-4 15, Baylie Gerrity 1 0-2 2, Megan Helminiak 3 0-0 6, Stephanie Fernandez 0 0-0 0, Billie Strickler 1 0-0 2. Totals 24 14-17 69.
Bucktail4 17 12 17-50
Neumann22 12 13 22-69
3-pointers: Bucktail 5 (Morgan 4, Blessard); Neumann 3 (Trenholm, Danneker).
Records: Neumann 6-1. Bucktail 2-5.