LOWER ALLEN TWP. — With both offenses struggling against two stalwart defenses, Trinity’s Matt Long proved the difference as he buried a 3-pointer from the corner with 2.9 seconds left in overtime to give the host Shamrocks a thrilling 45-42 victory over the E.L. Meyers Mohawks in the closing game of the 2017 Shamrock Showcase.
In the extra period, Trinity found some success using senior Sean Good’s height advantage around the hoop as the 6-foot-11 senior made two shots at point-blank range. But Meyers answered each time as Jawane Buchner drained four free throws to tie the game at 42 later in the four-minute overtime.
With 1:02 left, Trinity held the ball for the last shot and eventually called a timeout with 14.7 seconds to set up the final offensive set.
“We were looking for Sean in the post, and if he didn’t have it he was going to set a screen for me,” Long said. “It felt good coming out of my hand. I knew it was in.”
After Trinity (7-1) labored against Meyers’ zone to an 11-7 advantage, the Mohawks briefly took a one-point lead after scoring the first five points of the second quarter. But Trinity turned up the pressure on their perimeter defense to retake the lead at halftime, 19-14.
Meyers, located in Wilkes-Barre, tried to play to its strength with ball handling and long-range shooting, but Trinity’s guards and wings stepped up on the defensive end, denying the ball and switching through every ball screen and hand-off.
“They all did a great job on the perimeter,” Trinity head coach Larry Kostelac Jr. said. “We took that aspect of the game, especially in that overtime. They didn’t get a look, and that was critical.”
The Shamrocks had limited offensive success getting the ball down on the block, as center Good closed the first half with eight points. For the second straight night, though, the Shamrocks struggled from close range.
“We did so many good things, and the one thing that is a glaring problem is missing from six feet in,” Kostelac said. “We just have to correct that.”
Long opened up the fourth quarter with a trey to give Trinity a 10-point lead, its biggest of the game. But Meyers reeled off 10 unanswered points to tie the contest up at 36 with a little over a minute left.
Jack Bucher put Trinity briefly on top with two free throws on a one-and-one after he drew a foul on a rebound. Meyers, however, had Blake Masker roll off a high screen to get an open look along with a putback off his miss to tie the game up at 38 and send it into overtime.
Good led the Shamrocks with 18 points on 7-of-8 shooting from the floor and 4-of-8 from the free-throw line. He also grabbed 11 rebounds. Buchner, the lone Meyers’ senior in the starting lineup, topped all scorers with 21 points.
“There’s a long way to go in this season, and we just feel very fortunate to come out of here 7-1,” Kostelac said.
Shamrocks girls’ game canceled
Inclement weather and the ensuing traffic issues forced the Emmaus girls’ team to cancel their participation in Saturday’s showcase. The chain effect was that the host Trinity girls’ squad did not play, choosing to cede their spot to Emmaus’ original opponent, Selma (California), in the 5:15 game against Helen Thackston Charter.