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HICKSVILLE, NY - It's one thing to defeat your opponent in a neck and neck contest where the outcome isn't decided until the final moments. Its' another thing to pound your competition into submission with unrelenting pressure on defense and with an aerial barrage of thirteen three-pointers in an offense that resembles a battle scene from Star Wars.
The latter was Holy Trinity's approach as they assaulted the Chaminade Flyers for four quarters en route to an 84-66 win in the NSCHSAA Quarterfinals. Friday's game was to decide which team was to face Kellenberg in Sunday's semifinal round and that outcome was decided pretty quickly.
"We played them last week and they beat us up pretty good," said Titans Head Coach Joe Conefry. "Our mentality tonight was to get after them. Let's be the aggressors"
On defense, Holy Trinity utilized extensive traps to get the ball out of Chaminade's 6'2" junior point guard Thomas O'Connell's hands."We press pretty much all year because we're small and we're pretty quick but we really, really got very aggressive tonight," said Conefry.
The strategy yielded turnovers and, 6'2" junior guard Jimmy Golaszewski (24 points) transformed those turnovers into 11 first quarter points. Additional three-pointers from juniors Billy Sixsmith (5 points), Jack Sixsmith (7 points) and 6'3" senior Brandon Thomson (13 points) and the Titans went into the second quarter with a comfortable 26-11 lead.
The Flyers did begin to make some headway offensively in the second quarter as Holy Trinity had a hard time matching up against 6'7" James McCullagh (17 points). The senior forward often positioned himself and boxed out under the rim to receive deft passes from O'Connell who himself managed to score 20 points throughout the evening.
The Titans, however, continued to rein down threes and win the majority of the 50/50 battle led by their 5'11" junior point guard Mike Farella (19 points). At the half, Holy Trinity held a substantial 49-27 advantage.
Chaminade tried to quicken the pace to start the third quarter and it worked briefly but 6'0" senior Peter Alkins (10 points) countered for the Titans with back-to-back trifectas bouncing Holy Trinity's lead back to 23. After implementing even more aggressive full court traps the Titan's were ahead 63-35 with 3:20 remaining in the quarter.
Down thirty to begin the final quarter, Chaminade made a final push and got the Titan lead down to 20 points after peeling off a 9-0 run, aided by an episode of dismal free-throw shooting from the Titans.
The momentum pendulum was at a critical juncture when Golaszewski came up with a clutch three-ball from the corner pocket that got the bench and the home-court crowd going wild. That was followed up by a powerful offensive rebound by Thomson where he drew a foul and hit both free-throws. The momentum had swung back to Holy Trinity where it stayed for the remainder of the game.
Now the Titan's focus is on Kellenberg who they play at L.I.U. Post formerly known as C.W. Post in the Semifinals. "With us and Kellenberg, it's pretty much an even match," said Coach Conefry. "It's a matter of who executes their stuff the best and who's gonna play well."