POTTSVILLE — Combined, Trinity freshman Chance Westry and senior Conor Moore scored 28 points Wednesday night.
And, sure, Westry actually scored all 28 of those points. But that doesn’t minimize one iota what Moore did to contribute to the Shamrocks’ 57-47 PIAA Class 3A second-round boys’ basketball victory over Holy Redeemer at Pottsville High School’s Martz Hall.
The District 3 champion Shamrocks dethroned the District 2 runner-up Royals by absolutely dominating the second half, earning themselves a Saturday quarterfinal date against District 1 champ New Hope-Solebury, which ousted District 12’s SLA Beeber 51-42 in another second-round game Wednesday night. Time and location of that contest will be decided soon.
With a pair of Trinity senior leaders — swing man Patrick Walker, celebrating his 18th birthday, and post Kalen Veres — saddled with early foul trouble, Westry was simply sensational in his efforts against Redeemer and fellow freshman point guard Justice Shoats.
Westry bucketed those game-high 28 points on 11-of-14 shooting to go along with four steals, four assists and four blocks.
“Every day at practice, they tell me, ‘If they’re down, get on ‘em, pick ‘em up,’” Westry said of sliding into the leadership role with those seniors in foul trouble. “We all get on each other. So I’m ready to take that role.”
Moore, meanwhile, might not have scored, but his second-half defense on 6-foot-6 Royal beast Nick Prociak supplied the funds necessary to fuel Westry’s full-throttle sprints.
In Veres’ first-half absence, Prociak eased his way to a highly efficient 14 points, dominating inside as Holy Redeemer never trailed, led by as many as six points, and slid into halftime with a 24-22 advantage.
But, with the athletic 6-foot-4 Moore taking on the coverage assignment after the locker room break, Trinity shut him down. Prociak scored just one late bucket in the second half, still finishing with a team-high 17 points (8-of-11 shooting). Shoats added 11, 6-foot-8 wing Jared Piontkowski eight, and recent 1,000-point scorer Collin Cook six on a pair of fourth-quarter 3-pointers for the Royals. But they were outscored 35-23 in the second half.
“You gotta beat [Prociak] to spots,” Trinity coach Larry Kostelac Jr. said he told Moore at halftime. “I don’t care how you do it; just get there.”
And he did, limiting Prociak’s touches, forcing lower-quality shots and one-and-done trips down the floor for Redeemer. That, in turn, sparked the Westry-led offense, which seized power with a 15-2 third-quarter run that featured nine points and two assists from the freshman.
“Chance is just a special player,” Kostelac said. “He’s a high-level kid, and I thought he played a hell of a game. Not only did he put the ball in the basket for us, he also passed the ball so well. Our kids feed off of that, and when we score like that, then your defensive intensity increases.”
Added Westry of his highly anticipated freshmen battle with Shoats: “I did a lot of film on him since [Tuesday] night, watching him, seeing his flaws, and I just played him, played him hard. He’s a tough player, but you just gotta play hard.”
After falling behind 39-28 at the end of that vicious Shamrocks run, the Royals were never able to pull closer than nine points.
Walker, despite limited minutes, still finished with 11 points. Aley Zangari added seven, with Veres and Marcus Beckett chiming in with four apiece for Trinity.