I don’t know much about ‘25 LILLY RIGGI of Trinity Hall. I have watched her from a distance the past two years and have watched her develop into a player who is banging on that door, that brings them into the spotlight. Not many people knew much about Lilly Riggi when she arrived at Trinity Hall two years ago. But nobody seems to know much about any Trinity Hall kids when they arrive. That’s because how a kid arrives is never as important as to where they go… LILLY RIGGI may be going to big places in the near future.
Matt McCarthy is the head coach at Trinity Hall. He has done the best rebuilding job of a program we have seen in the past 2 decades. He has turned Trinity Hall into one of the best programs in the state and into a SHORE CONFERENCE, SCT CONTENDER. He has done not by taking transfers, stealing kids or turning his program over to some wanna be superstar. He has turned Trinity into a power by taking kids that many of the brand name programs passed on and turned them into prime time players. His players “ALL” are a product of Player Development at the highest level. Matt McCarthy now has a program everyone knows is becoming a real problem for all. It’s also why when Matt McCarthy talks I listen. He has been telling me for two years that Lilly Riggi is going to be a great player one day. That she might be the key to his Top 10 team this year, getting to the next level.
When Lilly Riggi was a freshman, Matt McCarthy challenged her. He told her she was going to start for his rising team. He was tied of slow walking her. His team needed her now. He knew his program was at the crossroads. So he told Lilly Riggi you’re either going to step up or ride the bench. There was going to be no in between. So when Trinity Hall took on state Top 5 ranked RBC, with all their tradition and blood blue talent it was a moment of reckoning for the Trinity players, coaches and program. Liggi Riggi had her hands full. She had to guard 6’5” Power 5 center Ally Carman. She was just a baby then, giving away 40 pounds and 6 inches. But Lilly battled the offensive minded and physical center all afternoon. She had a busted lip and bloody nose at the end of the day to show for it. Trinity Hall lost that game in overtime. But Lilly Riggi showed that she had a toughness that you don’t teach. She proved that she was fearless. That toughness allowed her to grab 100 rebounds and score a 100 points as a freshman. It went unnoticed except by her her coach and teammates. They all knew Liggi Riggi had a chance to be a real different maker. They also knew she was the missing ingredient to what may come next.
Last season, Lilly Riggi doubled her scoring output, doubled her all important assists and increased her rebounds stats. These are all things that the public see’s. But what they didn’t see was her guard the best player in the Shore everyday, NINA EMNACE. Matt McCarthy knew he had to challenge his star guard each day in practice. So Lilly Riggi was given the job. In turn Lilly not only helped Nina EMNACE get better. She gained more confidence in her game. Lilly Riggi game is filled with big screens, hard cuts, sprints in transition and timely passing. She does all the things nobody is happy doing. The things that don’t show up in the paper. But show up in the win column. She does all the little things coaches talk and dream about. Lilly Riggi is on of the biggest reasons Matt McCarthy thinks his team can play with anyone on any given night.
I mentioned to Coach McCarthy one day that if Lilly Riggi was going to take her game to the next level, she needed to change her inner circle. I told Coach McCarthy I thought she needed to spend time with gym rats and get uncomfortable. That’s when Coach McCarthy said to me. “Tiny, do you know this kid could have played AAU with NJ RISE U17 team?” He went on to explain to me she decided to play for UNITED U17 team. That meant a step up in competition and travel. We are talking almost 3 hours a day, 3 days a week. She had to hustle to get rides. Eat on the run and do all the things only kids that see the light do. He also told me Lilly Riggi gave up volleyball in the fall. He then said the words that matter most to all college\
“LILLY RIGGI, knows she can be a really good player in college. I know she is going to be an excellent player in college”… Quote Coach Matt McCarthy.
Now I know Matt McCarthy didn’t want to say it. But I could feel it in his voice. I know he is thinking Lilly Riggi has a chance to be a D1 player. He just doesn’t want to put those expectations on her. I know he thinks a PATRIOT SCHOOL would be wise to invest time into his 5’11” talented forward. He has watched her game grow. He has watched her mature physically. He believes Lilly is as valuable as any forward in the Shore Conference and he may be right. It’s hard to find players who love to defend, rebound and highlight teammates strengths. It hard to find kids that are unselfish these days and put winning above all else. These things always have value at the next level.
Last night I watched tape of Lilly Riggi. I wanted to just make sure I had it right in my mind. If Matt McCarthy says a kids has a real work ethic and competing nature, I tend to believe it. What I discovered last night watching tape was this…CONSISTENCY, yup that’s the word. It seemed in the 4 games I watched Lilly Riggi. She consistently affected the game in so many ways. If you graded her out. Her numbers would be off the charts. She doesn’t make mental mistakes. She stays in her lane always and the big thing you ask? And folks make no mistake to what I’m about to say… SHE IS THE PHYSICAL PRESENCE on Trinity Hall. A presence that fuels her teammates confidence when the game gets aggressive and competitive. That my friends doesn’t show up in a box score but the winning chip column… LILLY RIGGI IS READY TO DO BIG THINGS… just ask her coach