HERSHEY >> Larry Kostelac Jr. has been here before.
Plenty of times as a matter of fact.
His young team, one that gets better as the season progresses, all of a sudden has a birth in the district championship. Some would say it's a year too early, but for the Trinity Shamrocks the District 3 Class AA title game seems to be on the pocket schedule handed out at the beginning of the season.
Freshman Sean Good scored 13 points and blocked 15 shots as the Shamrocks held off Camp Hill, 55-51.
No. 4-seeded Trinity will face No. 10-seeded Columbia Friday in the championship game at Giant Center. Tip-off is scheduled for 6:45 p.m. Columbia defeated Hanover, 69-63, earlier in the night.
Trinity will be looking to repeat as district champions.
For Columbia it marked the first time since 2001 they have reached the title game. For Trinity, about that pocket schedule ... the Shamrocks will be in the title game for the 17th time under Kostelac.
"It's unbelievable. It's so much fun," Kostelac said. "I was hoping so much they could get to this point because they're young and because they listen. They're like sponges, they did everything you ask them to do and they get better and better."
Before this season's championship game run, Trinity had won 10 district titles in 12 championship appearances since 1997.
Consider that four of the Shamrocks starting five are underclassmen. Consider the youngest of the five, 6-foot-10 Sean Good, is just halfway through his freshman year. He set the tone early defensively.
"We thought at the beginning of the year, let's keep our head above water, early on, because ... we have a chance to get better and better as the year progresses. That's exactly what's occurred. Not only do we have a nice team this year, the future is bright for Trinity basketball. I've been saying that to you guys all year long," Kostelac said.
Wednesday's semifinal was tight throughout, but Trinity was able to score buckets at the right time. Tim Edwards scored six crucial points in the fourth quarter, and the Shamrocks made all seven of their free throws down the stretch.
Sophomore Austin Gilbertson pocketed 17 points for Trinity, while Edwards chipped in 12.
"I feel like our team is very resilient and we kept fighting and fighting, but we just couldn't get to the point where we could take the lead," Camp Hill head coach Wayne Fletcher said.
The Lions led briefly in the third quarter, but ... .
"We couldn't sustain it" Fletcher said. "We felt good about our game plan. ... We put a lot of guys on Gilbertson, because we knew that if we could wear him down it would allow us to pressure their other guards more. But they hit timely shots too. It's one of those things."
Deshawn Franklin and David Fetrow each scored 14 for Camp Hill, which will face Hanover in the third-place game on Friday night at a site and time to be determined.
Only the winner advances to the state tournament.
Trinity will be right back where they feel they should be.
"To be back in the district final again this year, it's a feather in those kids' cap," Kostelac said. "Like I told them before, I've been at this game 24 times, the semifinal, and this one is for them. This is theirs, this is our program, it's their turn to shine and they've got an opportunity to go back to the district final and have a chance to play against a very good Columbia team. And I'm proud of them."
Trinity 55, Camp Hill 51
CAMP HILL (51)
Leach 1 0-0 2, Deshawn Franklin 6 2-3 14, David Fetrow 5 4-4 14, Zack Kuntz 4 3-5 11, Shuster 3 0-0 8,Perez 1 0-0 2.
Totals — 20 9-13 51
Latimore 2 2-3 6, Austin Gilbertson 6 3-4 17, Sean Good 5 3-4 13, Tim Edwards 5 2-2 12, Vukelich 2 0-0 4, Bucher 1 0-0 2, Hanes 0 1-2 1.
Totals — 21 11-17 55
3-point goals — CH 2 (Shuster 2). Tri 2 (Gilbertson 2).