The District 3 Class AA championship game between Delone Catholic High and Trinity lived up to its billing.
The Squires had a flair for the dramatic and used Andrew Austin's put-back as time expired to give them a 58-56 win and their second district title in as many years.
"To win back-to-back district championships is awesome," head coach Jim Dooley said. "I think our schedule had a lot to do with it. Playing Calvert Hall (Md.), St. Maria Goretti (Md.), Frederick (Md.) and Northeastern. Playing a lot of good playoff teams, playing Chambersburg helped us."
"This doesn't get old," Delone's Brett Smith said. "It is an amazing feeling having this gold around my neck."
Two free throws from Joshua Trumpy allowed Trinity to tie the game at 56 with 16.8 seconds left.
Smith brought the ball up the court, drove to the hoop and took a pull-up jumper that bounced off the rim and right into the hands of Austin, who put it back up as time expired. The ball fell through the net and pandemonium ensued as Austin was mobbed by his teammates, leaving the Trinity players to look at what could have been.
"Brett is our best player and everyone knows he is going to get the ball at the end of the game," Austin said. "I saw him drive. I knew he was going to do his little pull-up, so I just crashed the boards. I saw it coming my way so I just caught it and put it back in.
Ironically, Austin was involved in the Squires' game-winning shot in last year's district title as he picked up the assist on Seth Bullers' bucket.
This time, it was his chance to be the hero.
"I knew (Seth) would have killed me last year if I would have shot it," Austin said. "He was our guy, and he was hot that whole game and, toward the end, I knew i had to give him the ball and it worked. Whatever gets us the W."
The key to the game may have come down to something as simple as a face mask. With three minutes, 22 seconds remaining in the half, Trinity had extended its lead to 31-22. Delone called a timeout and Austin removed the face mask he had been wearing.
"I broke my nose a few weeks ago and was getting beat by their big guys because I couldn't see them," Austin said. "Coach is yelling at me, 'Why don't you see them?', and I don't want to lose it for my team, so I was like if I break my nose, I break my nose. I took it off so I could see and play defense."
Austin finished the game with 13 points and eight rebounds.
Despite being undersized, the Squires somehow found a way to out-rebound 26-20 a Trinity team that had two guys 6-foot-4.
Tanner Orndorff, who stands 5-9 and whom Dooley describes as the toughest player in Hanover, had the unenviable task of trying to guard Brandon Kuntz and Joshua Trumpy, the two 6-foot-4 players.
"I thought Tanner played a heck of a game," Smith said. "He was a man down there playing against a guy almost eight inches taller. Tanner is a heck of a player."
Devon Moore was the leading scorer for Delone with 15 points. There was some concern coming into the game whether he would be available due to a turned ankle on Wednesday and sitting out all but the first six minutes of that game.
"I wasn't too concerned that I wasn't going to play today because I knew in my mind that I was going to play no matter what," Moore said.
Moore missed last season's district championship due to a torn ACL, so this year's win was all the sweeter.
"This is the greatest feeling in the world," Moore said. "It feels great to play in it and be a part of the district championship."
"Our athletic trainer should be given the gold medal," Dooley said, "She got Devon ready to play."
With the district championship in hand, Dooley now has his sights set on the state tournament.
"I thought we played very well tonight," Dooley said. "We have to feel like we have a chance to win next week.
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DELONE CATHOLIC (58)
Devon Moore 6 2-2 15, Andrew Austin 5 2-2 13, Brett Smith 4 3-5 12, Jake Wiles 4 0-0 10, Orndorff 4 0-0 8, Kilkelly 0 0-0 0. Totals 23 7-9 58.
Dylan DeFrank 7 0-0 19, Dominick Antonelli 3 2-2 10, Kuntz 4 1-1 9, Wesner 4 0-0 8, Trumpy 2 3-8 7, Agnew 1 0-0 3, Gagliardi 0 0-0 0. Totals 21 6-11 56.
Delone Catholic 15 17 12 14 -- 58
Trinity 22 10 13 11 -- 56
3-point goals -- Trinity 8 (DeFrank 5, Antonelli 2, Agnew); Delone Catholic 5 (Wiles 2, Smith, Moore, Austin).