Remember these Titans.
"First league title since 1997. First state title since 1980."
Senior guard Peter Alkins proudly ticked off the accomplishments of his 2013-14 Holy Trinity basketball team as he fought back tears following the Titans' loss in the state Federation Class A championship to undefeated Scotia-Glenville, 68-53, in Albany last month.
"We came up one game short of our final goal," Alkins said of what would have been a rare trinity of championships - league, state, Federation. "We're a family. Every practice, every game, we played together and played as a team."
That's why the Titans, in compiling a 24-7 record including six straight postseason victories in elimination games that carried them to the Federation finale, did not have a 20-points-per-game scorer. Instead, the starting lineup featured five under-sized, smart-passing, sharp-shooting players that proved difficult to defend.
"We had great chemistry. We had a lot of toughness," coach Joe Conefry said. "We were very unselfish. I knew we had the potential for a good season, but we kept getting better."
They turned a good season into a great one. With no starter taller than 6-3, the Titans relied on ball movement, quality shot selection and high basketball IQ to win their games. In surviving the Nassau-Suffolk CHSAA championship game on March 4, a 57-55 thriller over top-seeded St. Mary's, Jimmy Golaszewski scored 22 points, grabbed 12 rebounds and was named MVP of the tournament.
"We're all perimeter players. We can all shoot and we can all pass the ball," Golaszewski said. "If I'm not making my shots, I have confidence in my teammates."
It seemed like a different player contributed a titanic effort every night. In an exciting 71-65 victory over Washington Heights in the Federation Class A semifinals, the Sixsmith twins -- Jack, a starter, and Billy, a sub -- sank three consecutive long-range three-pointers in the fourth quarter to launch a comeback. Jack had a team-high 15 points; Golaszewski scored 14 with 10 rebounds. Alkins scored 14 points and Brandon Thomson added 13.
That was the Titans all season, a team that was perfectly balanced and perfectly unselfish. "It takes a special group to share the ball," Conefry said. "If your guys buy in, they have to be special players. They always made the right play, the extra pass. And if you were open, you shot it."
Even after winning the state CHSAA championship with a dominant 61-39 victory over Xavier in which Golaszewski and Mike Farella scored 13 points each, the Titans didn't think of the Federation tournament as playing with house money.
"They came up here to win a championship," Conefry said after the game. "We had a great season but those guys are in there [the locker room] sobbing. I'm so proud of them for caring so much. I had to remind them, 'Hey guys, on Monday we'll put up a banner in the gym.'"
It's the first one in a long time for Holy Trinity. So remember the Titans of 2013-14.