Caitlin Trost looked more suited for the Ultimate Fighting Championship than a basketball court Thursday night.
Coronado’s 5-foot-3-inch junior point guard had been knocked for a loop in a nasty collision with 5 minutes, 31 seconds left in the third quarter.
With a dazed look in her eyes, a puffy right cheek, a sore neck and a fat lip, she returned to the floor nine minutes later and helped her team finish off a 40-34 victory at Durango.
“She’s a battler,” Coronado coach Bill Crego said. “Everybody says if they could pick someone to go to war with, it would be her.”
Trost was pretty much steamrolled while chasing a loose ball. She walked to the bench and appeared to have trouble focusing on the game.
Somehow, she talked her way back onto the floor just after Coronado’s 36-22 lead had dwindled to nine points.
“I felt a little groggy. I had a headache,” Trost said. “I didn’t want to let my team down. I couldn’t stand just sitting there.”
Trost assisted on the Cougars’ only basket of the fourth quarter, hit two free throws — after a rebound was redirected and the ball hit her in the face — and had two steals in the final four minutes.
“I knew she’d come back,” Crego said. “I just didn’t know when.”
Trost was the second Cougars starter to leave the game with an injury. The lone senior on the active roster, center Jessica Smith, did not return after suffering a right ankle injury about two minutes before Trost’s injury.
For an extended stretch in the second half, Coronado had three freshmen on the floor and still had just 10 turnovers on the night.
Freshman Sofie Cruz led Coronado with 14 points. Sarah Dexter added 10 points for the Cougars.
Cherelle Hicks paced the Trailblazers with 13 points and 12 rebounds.