Damon Coleman's 18 points, six steals lead Holy Trinity
His feet are constantly in motion -- sliding east to west on defense, speeding north to south on offense. Damon Coleman always seems headed in the right direction. His hands never stop moving, either, causing chaos in the backcourt.
So, after leading Holy Trinity to an impressive 72-61 victory over host Kellenberg Wednesday night in the CHSAA opener for both teams, scoring 18 points and making six steals, the question for Coleman, a senior point guard, was this: Which are quicker, your hands or your feet?
"I go with my feet," Coleman said, showing a quick smile, too. "I'm a football player. Gotta have quick feet."
In handing Kellenberg (7-1) its first defeat of the season, Holy Trinity (10-2) needed all of Coleman's digits to withstand a couple of second-half flurries by the Firebirds. The Titans used a 20-9 second-quarter outburst to grab a 37-27 halftime lead and expanded that to 51-38 with 3:43 left in the third quarter on two free throws by Isaiah Rowe (11 points).
That's when the Firebirds lived up to their nickname with a hot streak. They cut the deficit to 51-47 just 15 seconds into the fourth quarter on a layup by Connor Powers.
But Mike Farrella (nine points) sank a three-pointer to end the surge and Coleman asserted himself with a floater in the lane followed by a steal that he converted into a coast-to-coast layup. When Farrella duplicated the latter, it was 60-51 with 5:05 left.
Then Jeremy Arthur, Kellenberg's go-to guy and one of the top players on Long Island, brought Kellenberg back. Among his game-high 26 points were a tip-in and a three-point play in the lane. Richie Ragusa (11 points) converted a putback off an Arthur miss to make it 62-58 with 2:18 left.
Coleman -- quickly, of course -- came to the rescue. He made a steal that turned into a layup for Billy Sixsmith (nine points), went the length of the court for a layup of his own and fed Jimmy Golaszewski for a bank shot on an inbounds pass -- after forcing a turnover -- to put Holy Trinity comfortably in front 68-58 with a minute to play.
"I try to play good defense and get my hands in the passing lane," said Coleman, who is also dangerous making steals from behind. "We try to pressure the ball and turn our defense into offense."
Thanks to Coleman, that's often a quick transition.