For two and a half quarters, the Squires of Delone Catholic gave the ’Rocks of Trinity a game in the District 3 Class 3A boys’ championship late in the evening of February 28, at the Giant Center in Hershey. In fact, the Squires, a number 5 seed, held Trinity to just 30 first-half points and trailed only by 11 at the break.
Giving up considerable size to Trinity, whose front-line timber towers nearly seven feet with standout big guys Mike Bednostin and Adelphie Cisse, it is an understatement to say the Squires were undersized.
Yet, the Squires hit some key threes and capitalized on Trinity’s inability to finish inside looks to hang close. But a 17-0 run midway through the third quarter buried Delone in a hole their offense was unable to respond to. Led by Owen Schlager’s defensive quickness that caused multiple Squire turnovers leading to easy transition buckets, the Shamrocks cruised to a 71-42 victory to claim their 19th District 3 championship in the school’s illustrious basketball history. And for good measure, it was legendary head coach Larry Kostelac’s 799th win.
“I told them before the game that even though we are playing for our 19th district championship, many of you are playing for your first. It makes no difference what number you are playing for,” Coach Kostelac said.
If you’ve watched Trinity basketball closely in the Kostelac era, one thing that stands out is the success this program has after halftime adjustments are made. It’s the mark of a great coach that has eons of experience to draw upon to give young basketball players marching orders to change things to their advantage. Trinity owns the second half and it’s just unquestionably the way the ’Rocks win.
“In the beginning of the game, it was kind of tough because it’s the Giant Center and all the emotions are right there,” Bednostin said post-game. “We were kind of ruffled. But then the coaches talked to us – it was a great speech at halftime – and we fixed it up and played solid.”
And play solid they did, behind Bednostin’s 24 points, many of which were dings and dunks on the Squires’ interior defense unable to match-up size wise. Trinity’s 1-3-1 zone defense has been paying dividends too; not only is Trinity big, they are long and quick defensively with that size. Getting an open three-point look takes NBA-type shooting depth, and most high school teams just do not shoot high percentage field goals beyond 22 feet. The Little Lions of State College pummeled Trinity in the Mid-Penn Championship game with phenomenal shooting two weeks ago. That’s about the only recipe to beat Trinity this year.
Eight hundred wins and another March run at a PIAA state championship looms for Trinity. That’s how the ’Rocks seem to always roll come March.
(Photos by Chris Heisey, The Catholic Witness.)
By Chris Heisey, The Catholic Witness