January is the mid-point of a long winter’s basketball season before February brings the district playoffs and March the PIAA state tournament.
In front of a raucous, standing-room-only crowd at Bishop McDevitt’s St. Sebastian gym on January 10, the Shamrocks of Trinity High beat the Crusaders, 92-72, in a game that was way more competitive than the 20-point margin of victory.
Back and forth action with the pace of playoff basketball was the norm as both teams pushed the frenzied tempo to their advantage. But what made the clash of two 7-2 teams so entertaining was the outstanding shooting performances of Trinity’s Owen Schlager and McDevitt’s Tyshawn Russell, who dropped in 26 and 32 points respectively, mostly bombs formed well beyond the three-point arc.
The Crusaders dominated the second quarter, outscoring the ’Rocks 22-13 to build a seven-point cushion heading into half time. After a near even third quarter that again featured great shooting and fastbreak opportunities for both teams, the fourth quarter was owned by Trinity, who scored 36 points in the final stanza to nail down a key Mid-Penn Capital Division win. The loss snapped McDevitt’s seven-game winning streak.
Trinity puts great size on the floor in 6’-11” senior center Mike Bednostin, along with senior Adelphe Cisse; both of whom are able to run the floor in transition which, in the final quarter against the Crusaders, clearly wore down their ability to defend the multiple threats Trinity runs at their opponents’ defense. And the engine that makes the locomotive steam down the tracks is sophomore point guard Owen Schlager, who is able to handle the ball in traffic and shoot the downtown three-ball with deadly accuracy.
“As coach (Larry Kostelac – 39th season) is always saying to me, ‘You have to dominate with your size,’ and you know, I trust him,” Bednostin said to the press after the game. “I try and do whatever he is telling me to do, and in the fourth quarter, we were just able to score, and I think we did a good job.”
For McDevitt, Tyshawn Russell (University of South Carolina football commit) thrilled the crowd with his athleticism and long range jump shooting (32 points, including 7-three pointers) that kept the Crusaders close until Trinity was able to execute a few key stops early in the fourth quarter to make their run and turn momentum in their favor.
Both Trinity and McDevitt will be high seeds in the District 3 playoffs in Class 3A and 4A, respectively.
Multiple other Diocesan basketball programs are having stellar seasons midway through their campaigns. Lancaster Catholic’s girls’ team is unbeaten thus far and looks to be a certain number one-seed in the District 3 tournament. The Delone Catholic girls have reloaded and only have one blemish so far. The Lady Red Raiders of Lourdes Regional have a winning season and will make their annual appearance in the District 4 playoffs up north. Both York Catholic Fighting Irish teams have a winning record, as do the boys of Delone Catholic. Hovering around .500 are the girls’ teams of Trinity and McDevitt, along with the boys’ of Lancaster Catholic.
(Photos by Chris Heisey, The Catholic Witness.)
By Chris Heisey, The Catholic Witness