Chance Westry first stepped into Trinity High School’s gym with a fair bit of AAU cred.
He had already traveled the country, playing at elite events like the Chris Paul’s Rising Stars 2018 All American Camp. But what could he bring the Shamrocks in his freshman year?
The answer: a lot and more.
The athletic 6-foot-3 point guard has established himself as one of the Mid-Penn Conference’s most gifted basketball players, and has only raised his status during a breakout postseason performance.
Westry is averaging 18 points and nearly five rebounds through seven games since the District 3 tournament began, including a career-high 28 points against Holy Redeemer and 22 points Tuesday against Bishop McDevitt-Wyncote.
Westry’s play has catapulted the Shamrocks (26-3) to Saturday’s PIAA Class 3A championship, where he and the six-time defending District 3 champs will face District 7’s Lincoln Park (25-4).
“He’s obviously gotten better as the year progressed, [like] you’d expect from a young kid,” ‘Rocks head coach Larry Kostelac Jr. said Wednesday before practice. “That first game of the year against York Catholic — you watch the game, and then you watch last night, you say, ‘That’s not the same animal.’ It’s not.”
Westry is just the third freshman to start for Kostelac in his 35 years coaching, joining Johnny Morris (Old Dominion) and 2018 grad Sean Good (Lafayette). There have been others who were bench pieces, but it is incredibly rare for a Trinity team to start a ninth-grader.
Circumstance and talent are why a few select freshman have earned a starting job for Kostelac.
“It just depends on what type of team you have at that point,” the coach with 725 wins said. “We had a need this year for a guard to come in and lead the way, and Chance was the kid that saw that opportunity, took advantage of it and keeps growing and growing as a player.”
What separates Westry from his peers is an already elite sixth sense. His court vision is significant. He’s able to see plays before they happen, passing lanes before they open and defenders before they get to their spots.
He has made highlight-reel passes to teammates, split the toughest press defenses and shot-faked opponents out of their shoes.
“It’s an amazing gift, there’s no doubt about it,” Kostelac said. “Trust me, it’s not lost on the people in the business. They’re there, they see, they like what they see.”
Including Penn State, the first of what may be many Division I programs to offer a scholarship to the skilled floor general.
Freshmen aren’t often tasked with leading a team to state glory. But Westry leads the team in scoring, assists and steals. He is also capable of double-digit rebounds on occasion.
It has been clear that if Trinity is to win a third state title, Westry will need to lead the Shamrocks with one more big game.
“I think we need the same thing that we’ve been getting: 20 points, at least seven assists, a couple rebounds, steals,” senior forward Patrick Walker said. “Because he does everything.”