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Decade’s best No. 4: Meghan Trenholm set many Neumann records

Meghan Trenholm someday would become St. John Neumann’s best girls basketball player ever. She would rewrite the program’s record book, become its first all-state selection (twice) and help it achieve its best season.

Of course her future high school coach Steve Sholder could not have predicted any of that while watching Trenholm play as a first grader. But he could tell that she was different. And he had a feeling something special might be coming.

“I have coached her since first grade and most girls at that age are struggling to get the ball to the rim and she’s easily making layups,” Sholder said during Trenholm’s 2013 junior season. “You could tell right away she was going to be quite an athlete.”

Trenholm made that prediction look great every time she played. She set a new standard for excellence at Neumann not just with the gaudy stats she accumulated, but through the way she played. A fierce competitor who it seemed ran on batteries at times, Trenholm was a force on both ends of the court, rarely exiting and never missing a game. All that while playing swarming defense whether on the perimeter or going against the taller girls inside because Neumann was vertically-challenged at times.

Trenholm never averaged fewer than 13.0 points and 5.0 steals in a season and always was among team leaders in rebounds, assists and blocks. As a junior she averaged a double-double and earned second team Class A all-state honors. A year later, Trenholm was even better, becoming a first team all-state selection and helping Neumann reach its first and only state tournament. By that point her name was at the top of most significant career and single-season stat categories, finishing as the program’s all-time leading scorer with 1,723 points while also topping both 800 rebounds and 500 steals.

“Hearing that I’m the first one in Neumann girls history is a pretty big accomplishment,” Trenholm said after her 2013 all-state selection. “People are always saying how little our school is, but little schools can have great players in them.”

Trenholm became the greatest.

She was 5-foot-7, but played like she was 6-7. Trenholm ran like a cheetah, never shied away from contact, aggressively attacked on both ends and could consistently drain perimeter shots. She immediately started showing all those qualities as a freshman, helping a team which had lost four starters and 90 percent of its scoring from 2010 actually improve its win total. Trenholm averaged 13.0 points, 5.3 rebounds and five steals per game as Neumann went 12-12 and won a playoff game for a second straight season.

In what became a recurring them, Trenholm saved her best performances for some of the team’s biggest games. Showing no nerves in her first playoff game, Trenholm scored 26 points and made a whopping 12 steals as Neumann defeated Elkland. Against top-seeded Cowanesque Valley a three days later, she scored 16 points, grabbed seven rebounds and made seven steals.

It was obvious Trenholm was headed for big things and she would earn first-team Sun-Gazette and HAC-III honors over her final three seasons. Stuffing the stat sheet was the norm and Trenholm could make a major impact whether she was scoring a lot or not. The second runner-up for Sun-Gazette Player of the Year as a sophomore, Trenholm set a program-record for points in a season and points per game average (18.4) while adding 8.9 rebounds and 5.4 steals per game. So athletic was Trenholm that despite being just 5-7 she also averaged 2.2 blocks per game. She capped her season with a 27-point performance in the district quarterfinals against eventual finalist Line Mountain.

Trenholm was an unselfish player, but she also sensed when it was time to take over games and often did so, igniting comebacks or helping Neumann pull away from pesky opponents. She did just that with a 26-point, 24-rebound, 10-assist performance in an early-season win against playoff-bound Bucktail her junior year. That was one of two triple-doubles she recorded that year and Trenholm followed it up by dominating the fourth quarter to complete the season sweep a few weeks later.

“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.”

“Meghan doesn’t talk much and nothing bothers Meghan, but you can see it in her eyes that she’s ready to take over,” Sholder said after the second Bucktail win. “She does that. We know that we can count on her to make a steal, lead the break and that 3 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.'”

Trenholm broke her own scoring records that year, averaging a double-double with 18.8 points and 10.8 rebounds per game. She also led the area in steals with 6.2 per game and already had totaled 1,222 career points, 599 rebounds and 395 steals by her junior season’s conclusion, earning second team all-state honors in the process.

Now both she and her teammates were ready to come back even stronger in 2014. Trenholm had made individual history, but what she really craved was team history. And she did everything possible to make it happen throughout her senior season. Averaging 18.1 points, 9.0 rebounds, 3.0 assists and a decade-high 7.0 steals per game, Trenholm helped Neumann go 15-7 during the regular season before peaking at the perfect time. The Knights went on the road in the district quarterfinals and Trenholm scored 22 points as they upset 2013 finalist Sayre, 41-30. Following a semifinal loss to undefeated Millville, Neumann needed to beat budding power Mansfield, the 2015 and 16 district champion, to reach states for the first time.

Not surprisingly, Trenholm played her best game at the best time, scoring 30 points, making nine steals and adding six rebounds. Trenholm would not let Neumann lose and it defeated Mansfield, 60-43, to clinch the program’s first state tournament berth.

“It just means a lot to do this in my senior year. We knew from the beginning we could make history. We thought we could go far and we proved that,” Trenholm said. “I feel like it was one of my best games. I just know when my team needs me I need to step up my game and play my hardest.”

Trenholm again did just that eight days later as Neumann shocked District 3 champion and state power Steelton-Highspire, 51-49, in the opening round of states. Trenholm recorded a double-double, played stifling defense and left no doubt she was one of the state’s best Class A players.

That was confirmed a few weeks later when Trenholm was selected to the all-state’s first team. It seemed a perfect ending to the greatest scholastic career and any Neumann girls player had ever put together. And what a legacy Trenholm created.

“It’s going to be hard to say goodbye to Neumann basketball, but this helps me go off in a stronger way. My team was amazing this year. I couldn’t have asked for better teammates to accomplish this goal. Without them I would not be able to do it,” Trenholm said after the all-state announcement. “I’ll look back at my high school years as a definite building block to my future. I’ll never forget it.”

And Neumann will never forget Trenholm.

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