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Camren Wynter, Thornton Scott help Holy Trinity win semifinal

Camren Wynter of Holy Trinity drives to the

Camren Wynter of Holy Trinity drives to the net during the CHSAA varsity boys basketball semifinals against St. John the Baptist at LIU Post on Sunday, Feb. 26, 2017. Credit: James Escher

In the end, Holy Trinity executed its gameplan perfectly. Camren Wynter and Thornton Scott never questioned their ability to do so, even when their top-seeded Titans entered halftime of their CHSAA semifinal with only a six-point lead over No. 5 St. John the Baptist.

“Our plan was to wear them down over the course of the game with our press,” Wynter said. “In the first half they broke it a lot more than we wanted them to break it, but when we came out in the second half we were a lot better on defense.”

The Cougars converted just three three-pointers and scored 18 points after halftime, and Holy Trinity cruised to a 90-59 victory Sunday at LIU Post’s Pratt Recreation Center. The Titans (19-6) will face No. 2 Chaminade Tuesday at 7 p.m. at Hofstra, looking for their first CHSAA title since the 2013-14 season.

Wynter scored 29 points and Scott had 22 points.

“Our goal was just to get through, get to the championship,” Scott said. “We didn’t care if it was by one or by 30. We executed correctly and turned it up on the defensive end, and ultimately that’s what won us the game.”

Holy Trinity committed five turnovers to St. John the Baptist’s 17, but could not pull away early. With Matt Lavin (13 points) pushing the pace and finding open teammates, the Cougars (8-16) converted 5 of 7 three-pointers in the second quarter. Kyle LoCastro scored 12 of his 20 points in the period, but Wynter matched him to help Holy Trinity to a 46-40 halftime lead.

“Any time you’re the lower seed you play with less to lose, and they played like that and they played great,” Holy Trinity coach Joe Conefry said. “I give them a lot of credit.”

The Titans would extend their lead, but Devin Goens split a pair of free throws with 5:40 left in the third quarter as St. John the Baptist again crept back to within six points. However, Scott sank a three-pointer eight seconds later and Wynter converted a layup after Holy Trinity forced a turnover on the ensuing inbounds pass. That sequence sparked a 26-5 run to end the quarter with a 78-51 lead.

“I think that our style defensively is one of attrition,” Conefry said. “We try to wear you down over the course of a game. We also played a lot better defensively in the second half, which helped. I think the combination of those two things helped us slow them down.”

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