Brandon Thomson was eager to have a game like this after battling what he called a "shooting funk" recently.
The senior guard made seven of nine three-pointers and scored 25 points to lead Holy Trinity to a 66-55 win over Buffalo Nichols Saturday in a CHSAA state semifinal at Kellenberg High School. It was the same number of treys Thomson totaled in his previous four games combined.
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"Earlier in the season, I experienced games like this," Thomson said. "But then I faded a little bit and I've been trying to get back in my groove. I guess you could say I was in a bit of a shooting funk or slump. It definitely felt good to get it back today."
And the fact his torrid shooting was a big reason why the Titans (22-6) will now play in the CHSAA state championship game at 4 p.m. Saturday at Fordham University against the winner of Monday's Bishop Ford/Xavier game made it that much better for Thomson.
"This game was a real big one for me to breakout and come through in," he said. "It was very important because we needed all the points we could get against this team."
Typical of the Titans this season, they overcame a serious height disadvantage. The big-bodied Buffalo team dominated in the paint early and led 22-18 after the first quarter.
Bradley Eugene then came off the bench for Holy Trinity. He provided a needed presence down low. The senior forward, who finished with 11 points and 10 rebounds, scored eight points in the second quarter to spark Holy Trinity to a 32-31 lead at halftime.
"I just like to do my part and take advantage on the boards," Eugene said. "It's pretty cool being one of the only guys on the team who doesn't shoot the three because we make a high percentage of them and when he don't make one, I just clean it up and finish."
The Titans played stellar half-court defense throughout the game and went to a full-court press during the second half, which led to many forced turnovers.
Holy Trinity opened the second half on a 13-5 run, capped by a long three-pointer from Thomson, which made the score 45-36 with 2:30 left in the third.
"I'm used to seeing different guys shoot well for us and that's what makes us tough to beat," coach Joe Conefry said. "In the playoffs so far it's been Jimmy [Golaszewski] and Peter [Alkins] getting us going, but we have balance and today it was Brandon who did it for us."
Golaszewski had seven points and eight rebounds and Alkins added 13 points.
Buffalo Nichols cut the deficit to two points with five minutes left in the game, but Thomson nailed another three to make the score 53-48 and Holy Trinity pulled away.
"I had confidence today," Thomson said. "I hit the first one, got some confidence and then it just went from there. Now we got one more game to win."