Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Tide Washes Trinity’s Quest for 20th District Basketball Title

Entering the District 3 basketball finals as a number one seed, Trinity’s boys’ basketball team found itself on the precipice of bringing home a milestone 20th district title for its historic program.

Only the Crimson Tide of Columbia stood in their way of the feat, in a highly contested nightcap on the opening day of the District 3 finals at the Giant Center in Hershey on February 28.

The defending district champs, the Shamrocks found themselves trailing the Tide for all but the opening bucket of the game. Despite Owen Schlager’s game-high 35 points for the ’Rocks, Trinity fell short in their quest, 64-61.

Trinity had a size advantage over number two seed Columbia, but the Tide capitalized on points beyond the arc – including five from Ladarian Miller – and point guard Artie Poindexter’s agility to penetrate Trinity’s defense in the paint toward his 20 points on the night. Columbia also capitalized on Trinity’s costly and untimely turnovers, especially when the ’Rocks were within a bucket or two of changing the course of the game.

Down 50-40 to start the fourth quarter, and with Poindexter on the bench in foul trouble, the ’Rocks generated a monumental nine-point swing generated by a forced turnover and capitalized by Schlager’s ensuing extra points on three shooting fouls.

Columbia answered Trinity’s surge though, changing their offensive run-and-gun to a slower pace, and stalling the ’Rocks’ momentum with a couple three-pointers well past the arc.

In the closing 30 seconds of the game, the ’Rocks found themselves within four points and in possession of the ball, but a costly traveling violation all but took the wind out of their sail. They sent Columbia to the foul line twice in the remaining seconds, but the Tide sealed the game at the line.

“Our effort was very good. When you get on this stage, and it’s the biggest stage in the district, you have to perform. Everybody’s got to do what they do up to their capabilities and we didn’t get there tonight,” Trinity head coach Larry Kostelac, Jr., told the media after the game.”

“This sting that they feel tonight, they have to remember it and make a vow that it’s not going to happen again,” he added. “Because at the end of the day, when you look at it, we were one possession away.”

Trinity, now 18-5, will enter the PIAA state tournament on Saturday, March 9 against the runner-up from District 4.

(Photos by Lisa Schlager.)

By Jen Reed, The Catholic Witness

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