Unexpected success defined the Holy Trinity girls basketball team's season.
There was new coach Roger Gaeckler, the Hofstra men's basketball coach from 1972-79; a roster littered with young, raw talent; an uncertain path through the rigorous CHSAA.
It culminated in a state Class B championship with a 60-49 victory over Aquinas in Fordham University's Rose Hill Gym. It was the program's first state crown since 2005.
The next step was a chance at a state Federation title, and despite hanging around with Irvington for the first half of a semifinal, the Titans ran out of steam and lost, 62-37.
"I think we’ve accomplished the first step of what we want to do, but we have a long way to go," Gaeckler said after the Irvington game, played at Cool Insuring Arena in Glens Falls. "I think the future’s very bright for us."
Indeed, the future is not as bleak as in recent memory. Natalie Stark and her 12.7 points per game will graduate, but Maggie Long, Madison Misser, Katrina Samuda and several others — including Gaeckler's daughter, Destini — give the Titans a young nucleus from which to build.
Holy Trinity finished 10-14 but hit its stride late in the season. The Titans were just 7-12 in the regular season before losing to Our Lady of Mercy, 51-43, in a CHSAA quarterfinal. This qualified Holy Trinity as a Class B team for the state playoffs, and the Titans then excelled, winning three straight games for a state title.
"We started off strong, then we had a lot of injuries and we failed a little bit," Roger Gaeckler said. "Then, towards the end of the season, we started to jell."
ROAD TO THE CHAMPIONSHIP
St Dominic, 56-34
Cristo Rey, 63-49