HARRISBURG - When Loyalsock lost to Trinity last year in the state quarterfinals, it left a sour taste in Omar Little and the rest of the Loyalsock Lancers mouths. The players waited a year to get revenge on the Shamrocks and boy, was revenge sweet.
Omar Little scored 28 points, grabbed eight rebounds and played lock-down defense as Loyalsock defeated District 3 champion Trinity 69-52 in the first round of the PIAA Class AA boys basketball playoffs Saturday night at Central Dauphin East High School.
Loyalsock will move on to play Delaware Valley Charter in the second round of states at a time and place to be announced.
"Coach told us all week in practice 'Just work hard, lay it all out there, just whatever it takes,'" said Little.
Little who has come up big his whole career in the playoffs, averages nearly 20 points. Little was especially dominant in the second quarter when he scored 13 points in a 23-6 run that put the Lancers up 39-17. Little shot the ball very well from the perimeter and benefited from some great passing by point guard Kyle Datres (7 points, 10 assists, 5 rebounds).
Even though Trinity features a front court that stands 6-foot-6 and 6-5, Datres constantly was getting in the paint creating havoc and challenging the much bigger Shamrocks.
"That's my job as a point guard," Datres said of his 10 assists. "If I can score I'm gonna' score but I try to drive in the lane, get easy layups for me or my teammates. Kick it out, cause I know I got some three-point shooters out there with Michael (Pastore), Tommy (Baggett), Omar, if they're open they're gonna knock it down and you know Ben (Sosa) played great tonight. He played big for his size, he got us some easy rebounds, put backs and he was smaller out there but he didn't play like it."
Though he stands just 6-2, Sosa plays much bigger. He scored 17 points, grabbed 10 rebounds and took three charges and made it difficult for 6-6 Josh Trumpy to score as he helped slow down Trumpy and held him eight points below his season average.
Sosa and Loyalsock have been undersized all year and have played big teams in St. John Neumann and Lewisburg. With that experience going against taller teams, it was evident Loyalsock wouldn't back down.
"It takes away the intimidation factor," Loyalsock coach Ron Insinger said. "Ben was not intimidated tonight. We had a good scrimmage during the week at Abington Heights and they have some giants in there. We went nose-to-nose with them and I think that we build on that."
Trinity has battled adversity all year as the Shamrocks started out 1-8 and lost eight straight games but it battled back winning seven straight and won the District 3 title. The Shamrocks got down by as much as 25 but battled back with a 11-2 and an 8-2 run to get within 13 but it could get no closer as Pastore (13 points) would hit a couple of big three's to shut the door.
"We started off with one win halfway through the year and then to come back and win the district championship and put ourselves into position that we did, that's important in moving forward," said Trinity coach Larry Kostelac. "But they have a lot work to do and we will make sure that occurs."
Omar Little 10 4-5 28, Kyle Datres 3 1-3 7, Mike Pastore 5 0-1 13, Ben Sosa 7 3-4 17, Tommy Baggett 1 0-0 2, Brennan Casale 0 0-0 0, Wes LaPoint 0 0-0 0, Luke Glavin 0 0-0 0, Ryan Loeh 1 0-0 2, Cory Young 0 0-0 0, Saabir Gibson 0 0-0 0. Totals 27 8-13 69.
Dominick Antonelli 6 5-6 18, Josh Trumpy 5 2-2 12, Brandon Kuntz 2 0-1 4, Kyree Calli 3 2-5 11, Lorel Robinson 0 0-0 0, Brendan Latimore 1 0-0 2, Austin Gibertson 1 0-0 3, Jack Walsh 0 0-0 0, Michael Hanes 0 0-0 0, Chris Rozman 0 2-2 2. Totals 18 11-16 52.
Loyalsock 18 22 14 15- 69
Trinity 11 8 17 16- 52
3-pointers: Loyalsock 7 (Little 4, Pastore 3); Trinity 5 (Calli 3, Antonelli, Gilbertson)
Records: Loyalsock (25-3); Trinity (12-13)
Next game: Loyalsock vs. Delaware Valley Charter Tuesday, TBA