Blessed Trinity Boys Advance To CYO Basketball Finals
The Blessed Trinity 5th grade boys’ basketball team advanced to the finals of the CYO Brooklyn/Queens B Division playoffs by defeating St. Mel 33-28 in a semifinal game this past Saturday, March 10. The game took place at St. Sebastian in Woodside.
The team has persevered through many hardships this season as Hurricane Sandy destroyed their home gym at St. Thomas More and displaced the families of many of the players. With no chance to practice, the team salvaged what they could of the regular season by merging whatever players were available from the two original teams into one team and playing a handful of road games and home games at Bishop Ford in Brooklyn.
But coaches Bryan McGinn and Chris Clark rallied the boys to take advantage of the opportunity presented to them in the playoffs and they have responded with four straight victories to reach the championship game.
In the semifinal game they faced a St. Mel team whose non-stop pressure on offense and defense had worn down opponents in victories over St. Joan of Arc, Good Shepherd and St. Margaret. Coaches McGinn and Clark had the team prepared to handle the pressure as the boys in green played a tenacious, trapping box zone.
Daniel Green and Tom McGinn took turns hounding the St. Mel top scorer, who had his way in previous games, and limited him to just eight points. Green and McGinn also brought the ball up against the St. Mel press and crisp passing allowed Blessed Trinity to find holes in the zone defense.
Sean Hennessy and Sean O’Keefe took advantage of their size and quickness inside to control the boards. Bryan McGinn opened the scoring and BT jumped out 5-0 but St. Mel came back and the game was back and forth the whole way.
There were five lead changes in the first half. Phil Benoit hit a shot just before the half to tie it at 17-17 at the break. Tom McGinn scored BT’s first 8 points of the second half and pushed the Rockaway boys to several 4 point leads but St. Mel fought back each time to tie the game.
Brendan Petronis hit two clutch baskets and a free throw to open a 30-23 lead in the final minutes and BT controlled the ball against a frantic St. Mel full court press to take the victory. Tom McGinn was high scorer with 15 points and Petronis added 8. Hennessy and O’Keefe had 16 and 8 rebounds respectively. Hennessy also had 4 assists passing out of the post.
In the first round BT defeated St. Matthias 24-9. Tom McGinn had 5 points and O’Keefe, Sean Sullivan, Jack Sullivan, and Hennessy had 4 each. Hennessy also had 10 rebounds and Green and Benoit contributed 4 steals. The second round saw BT get past Immaculate Conception 31-15. McGinn again led the way with 13 points while Green and Hennessy added 8. Hennessy and O’Keefe again controlled the boards with 16 and 7 rebounds respectively.
In the quarterfinals BT got past St Sebastian 18-8 behind Hennessy’s 10 points and 15 rebounds. Green led the defense with 3 blocks and 4 steals. Other key contributors for Blessed Trinity during the playoff run have been Bryan McGinn, Ryan Clark, Dylan McLaren, Wally Young, Tom Geis, Ryan Keane and Andrew Carr.
Blessed Trinity will meet St Patrick for the B Division championship Saturday, March 16 at 11:15 a.m. at Mc- Clancy High School in Elmhurst.
Coach Clark said “Although we got off to a rough start with the boys taking their lumps early and often, it was a lot of fun and just getting together every week or so did make things seem normal, even if just for an hour.
“Win or lose on Saturday, Coach Bryan and I are extremely proud of the boys for what they have accomplished and will make sure they know, that regardless of the outcome, they should leave this season with their heads held high for overcoming more adversity than any of them deserved.”