Trinity's Brandon Kuntz was making his third straight District championship appearance.
In the first two, he walked away with district silvers, so on Friday night, Kuntz — and the rest of the senior class — was willing to do whatever it took to bring home gold.
"Now we can exhale," Trinity head coach Larry Kostelac Jr. said . "I was telling them all night, don't exhale, don't exhale. Now we can. It is just very satisfying and very gratifying. We never gave up and the kids worked hard. These guys lost two championships but now have one, and can hang a banner in the gym."
Kostelac pulled Kuntz aside before the game and told him that his challenge was stopping Hanover's Dylan Krieger. Kostelac did not care if Kuntz did not score a point. Kuntz just needed to make Krieger work.
That is exactly what the 6-foot-5 senior did as he helped lead Trinity to a 55-46 victory over the Nighthawks.
Kuntz held Krieger to five points, 10 fewer than his season average of 15.
"The other night I thought Dylan won the game for them," Kostelac said. "Bottom line, Brandon did a great job. Dylan was his challenge and he rose to the challenge."
Kuntz is used to putting personal goals aside. Nine games into the season, the Shamrocks found themselves sitting at 1-8 and facing potentially their worst season in school history, the team had a meeting before a trip to Palmyra.
"We said we have to play for each other," Kuntz said. "We weren't playing the best team basketball. I think everyone started sacrificing their own goals for the goal of the team. We have Josh (Trumpy) and Dom (Antonelli). We have scorers for that. I don't need to do that. I need to pass the ball around, play good defense and that's what I did."
Trinity used its size advantage down low to dominate the paint on both sides of the ball early on. In the first quarter, Trinity scored 10 of its 18 points inside the paint, six coming from Trumpy.
Krieger scored Hanover's first basket of the game, but then was held scoreless until the 1:25 mark of the third quarter.
Trinity also got help from the hot hand of Kyree Calli, who hit two big first quarter 3's.
"Those were huge," Trumpy said. "He did a good job of stepping out and knocking them down. That opening things up for me and Brandon."
Trumpy dominated the inside all night, finishing with a game-high 19 points.
The Shamrocks also got 16 points from guard Dominick Antonelli and 12 from Kyree Calli.
Krieger's play symbolized the type of night that Hanover had. Both Krieger and his team had multiple easy shots roll around the rim and fall out.
"I dont know that they did anything special," Hanover head coach Nate Myers said. "Dylan had some looks, they just didn't fall for him. Unfortunately, they got shots to drop but we didn't."
Hanover was led by Nick Trish's 16 points.
For Kostelac it was a game plan followed to perfection.
"We knew they had Rhodes and Krieger who are very good players but we felt that we had four kids that could play the post and if we could get those guys in foul trouble, then they didn't have much off the bench in the post area. That was our game plan, to exploit that and go inside-out and I think we executed that to perfection."
Latimore 0 2-4 2, Dominick Antonelli 4 7-10 16, Gilbertson 0 2-2 2, Kyree Calli 5 0-2 12, Kuntz 1 2-2 4, Walsh 0 0-0 0, Josh Trumpy 8 3-4 19
Totals —18 16-24 55
Nick Trish 6 3-7 16, Russ 3 0-1 8, Krout 1 0-0 2, Goodfellow 1 0-0 2, Peterman 1 0-0 2, Krieger 2 1-2 5, Sheaffer 0 0-0 0, Bosserman 0 1-2 1, Jacob Rhodes 5 0-1 10.
Totals —19 5-13 46
3-point goals — Trinity 3 (Calli 2, Antonelli), Hanover 3 (Russ 2, Trish)