Michael Bullock (@thebullp_n)
SHILLINGTON — When one has the opportunity to score points even before the clock begins to run, that might be an incredibly strong harbinger of what might be on the way.
And whether a pre-game technical foul had much bearing on momentum or sullen thoughts among the opposition is hard to say. What’s easy to say is Trinity certainly had plenty of favorable things happen.
Not only quickly, but also throughout the Shamrocks’ latest postseason encounter.
With several of his future Lafayette coaches on hand, 6-11 senior Sean Good nearly pocketed a quadruple-double as Trinity thumped Philly Public League entry Dobbins Tech 69-41 in a PIAA Class 3A second-round contest Wednesday night at Governor Mifflin Intermediate School.
Good finished with 18 points, 16 rebounds, eight assists and even blocked eight shots for a Trinity contingent (22-5) that bolted to an 8-0 advantage and led by as many as 32 points (59-27) before the one-sided affair finally came to a close with the Shamrocks heading for Saturday’s quarterfinals.
No one else reached double figures for the five-time District 3 champs, who advanced to the state quarterfinals for the second time in three seasons and third time in six. Up next for Larry Kostelac Jr.’s balanced bunch is a date with District 4 runner-up Loyalsock — which fell to the ‘Rocks in the 2013 quarters in OT — at a site and time to be determined.
Loyalsock defeated Valley Forge Military Academy 54-51 in another second-round scrap on Mitch Klingerman’s 3-pointer with fewer than 14 seconds remaining.
Yochua Diaz netted 11 points for Dobbins Tech (19-11), which was assessed a pre-game technical foul for dunking in warmups. The Mustangs, who reached the second round of the 2010 Class AAA event, were playing in states for just the second time since the Pub came aboard.
Yet even though Matt Long sank one of the two freebies that accompanied the pre-game technical — and the Shamrocks bolted to their early advantage — Dobbins head coach Lou Williams didn’t harp on the pre-game decision having a detrimental impact afterward since his players all knew what was going to happen. What he did was commend Trinity.
“Boy, did we start out fast, and it just snowballed from there,” said Kostelac, who claimed his 600th victory at Mifflin when a different Trinity club buried 14 treys in a big win over William Sayre.
Wednesday night, with a bigger lineup in place, the remarkably Shamrocks connected on 55 percent (27-for-49) of their field-goal attempts while presenting their head coach career win No. 698.
“We were outmanned,” admitted Williams, who watched his Mustangs knock down just one of their 14 field-goal attempts in the opening quarter and fall behind 15-2.
“We just didn’t hit no shots, that was our problem,” added Williams, whose Mustangs were a combined 13-for-51 from the floor. “We didn’t hit shots. We didn’t hit shots.
“If we had hit shots, I think it would have been a different sort of game.”
Dobbins, however, never got closer.
Good’s overall dominance in the painted area was just one facet that enabled Trinity to construct its sizable cushion and crank up its transition game. The Shamocks also briskly moved the ball around and through Dobbins’ array of zones. In fact, Trinity assisted on 11 of its 12 buckets before half.
Trinity finished with 22 assists … on 27 made field goals.
“Our ball movement was perfect,” said Kostelac, whose Shamrocks had nine players drop one dime.
And Good, who had his double-double by halftime (Trinity led 34-11 at that point) was a big part of the Shamrocks’ desire to share the basketball. Especially when Dobbins tried to trap out of its 1-3-1.
“The big kid almost had a quadruple double, that’s insane,” Kostelac said.
“I never had anyone like that in my life.”
“He plays well,” Williams admitted. “He plays within his ability. He does what he’s supposed to do.
“Hey, there’s three things you cannot coach in this game: Speed, heart and height.”
Well, Dobbins had some height — but not enough to deal with Good, 6-7 Kalen Veres (9 points) and 6-5 Jack Bucher (8 points/6 rebounds). Particularly since Trinity won the board battle 40-24.
“When you run into [height], it’s a problem, particularly when they play well,” Williams admitted.
“We’ve made an effort all year long to go inside to our big people,” Kostelac said. “Riding the bus on the way, we go over statistics like we always do for this game and for the whole year. Lo and behold, the guy with the most shots this year is Sean Good.
“The guy with the second-most shots is Kalen Veres. That’s exactly what we wanted to do. It’s not that we don’t have perimeter players who can’t score, we do. Those guys are so strong in there and we ride those horses. We’ve done a great job at that.”
Trinity’s man-to-man approach also played a role in the Shamrocks’ early surge.
“I would definitely say it was the defense, just the pace of the game,” Good said. “You just want to keep going, so you turn it up more and more.”
Fouls also piled up on the Mustangs, as Dashawn Hockaday, Antonio Lewis and Diaz all had two personals before the break, forcing Williams to mix and match.
Quite simply, while lots of things went well for Trinity, not too many things went right for Dobbins.
Eventually, it came down to whether or not Good was going to pocket his quadruple-double. He was good to go with points and rebounds — his final deuce came on a flush with five-plus remaining off a dish from the powerful Veres — but still needed a few more assists and blocks.
“If you find a 6-10 guy down in Philadelphia, call me up on the phone,” Williams cracked.
Kostelac, though, soon had Good on the bench. His night — and his unique quest — was over.
“There was one point I think in the fourth quarter or something where I kinda thought, ‘Huh, I’m probably, relatively speaking, pretty close,’” admitted Good, who has rung up 1,000-plus career points, 1,000-plus career rebounds and 500-plus blocked shots. “It was really cool.
“It just pretty much all worked. I took the shots that I wanted to take,” Good added. “People cut phenomenally, and shooters were open moving on the wings and stuff. Rebounding was just same old, same old. Everything seemed to run smooth this game.”
Aside from a few turnovers, everything did seem to run smooth for the Shamrocks.
“It’s just a great team effort,” Kostelac said. “I’m just happy with the way everybody played.”
Long would go on to finish with seven points, while backcourt partner Mike Scarpelli netted nine as the balanced Shamrocks eased into their quarterfinal-round matchup.
“It’s good, especially being a senior and all,” Good stated. “I feel like we’re ready and I feel like it’s just been a great year so far. We have a great group of guys.
“I know I say this all the time, but we were completely, 100 percent on the same page, again,” Good added. “All of the credit to the synergy of the team.”
“These kids have played in a lot of big games,” Kostelac said. “They’re going to get to play in another one. Like we told the guys, ‘We started this thing on Saturday and there were 32 teams and there’s now eight. Eight soldiers left and we’re one of them.
“We’re going to get on the bus and go somewhere and play somebody.”