HERSHEY — It is said the only two things to be certain of in life are death and taxes. At some point we have to consider adding Trinity winning yet another District 3 championship to the list.
The Shamrocks took home their fifth straight title and 17th overall with an impressive 53-43 victory in a Class 3A tilt against Kutztown at Giant Center.
Trinity (No. 3, 20-5) jumped out to the early lead as Matt Long and Jack Bucher hit back-to-back 3-pointers. For Bucher, it was a much-needed bucket as the senior had been mired in an offensive slump.
“That first 3 was just relief because I have been struggling, especially from the 3-point line,” Bucher said. “That took the load off my shoulders, helped me relax and get settled into the game.”
The Shamrocks spread the ball around and built their lead behind strong interior play from Patrick Walker and Kalen Veres. Long put an exclamation mark on the first quarter for Trinity as he got another trey to rattle around and fall as time expired to give the Shamrocks the 20-6 lead.
“We wanted to make sure we got going right away and went hard for 32 minutes,” Trinity head coach Larry Kostelac Jr. said. “I felt we did that for the most part.”
Kutztown (No. 1, 20-4) had advanced to the championship game behind Lorencz Jean-Baptiste, the Berks County leading scorer averaging 21 points per game. Trinity used a combination of Patrick Walker, Bucher and Tresjon Ruiz to neutralize the junior swingman.
“I told the kids we are never going to shut him out, but you can make him work for everything he gets,” Kostelac said.
The Shamrock trio held Jean-Baptiste to only three points headed into the intermission on the way to his lowest output of the season with nine points.
“Our main goal was to contain him and to try and make it hard to get the shots he wanted,” Bucher said. “Patrick and I took turns on him to keep a fresh defender on him, and I think we did a great job.”
Holding a 31-16 lead at halftime, the Shamrocks turned to their height and size advantage with Sean Good, Veres and Walker in the second half.
Every time Kutztown would shave a couple of points off the lead, Trinity had an answer down low, as they scored 18 points in the paint after the break.
HERSHEY — Sean Good snared a rebound over a hapless Kutztown defender. His subsequent shot j…
After banging his head on the hardwood in last Thursday’s semifinal against Steel-High, Trinity had prepared all week as if they were going to be without the 6-foot-10 Good for the game. But the Lafayette commit was cleared to play earlier in the afternoon, and although he didn’t start for the Shamrocks, he contributed major minutes as he scored eight points and pulled down six rebounds to bring his career total to an even 1,000.
The sixth board gives him 1,000 points, 1,000 rebounds and 500 blocks in his career.
Brayden Eck led Kutztown with 12 points as the Cougars came into the game looking for their first district title since 1963.
Trinity had balanced scoring. Walker led the way with 12 points, while Long, Veres and Bucher all reached double-digits for the Shamrocks.
“It’s hard to believe,” Kostelac said. “It’s a heck of an accomplishment. To have us and the girls win, it was like back in the day when we used to do that all of the time.
HERSHEY — If Trinity dedicated the District 3 Class 3A championship game to one person, it had to be Aidan Finegan.
“It was just a great night for our school.”
Trinity faces the District 12 sixth seed the PIAA Class 3A opener on March 10.