Paul VI ran into a buzzsaw Saturday in the VISAA Division I Final at Virginia State University.
Trinity Episcopal shot almost 70% from the field to include 10 three pointers, running away with a close game in the second half for a 95-78 victory over the Panthers. James Madison signee Zach Jacobs was virtually unstoppable, scoring 38 points, and heralded 6’8″ sophomore Armando Bacot added 25 for the Titans (35-1), who won their first state title since 1996.
“We just didn’t have an answer for #11 [Jacobs] tonight,” Paul VI coach Glenn Farello said after the game. “They made a lot of shots.”
The Panthers fell behind 10-4 early but regrouped after a timeout to take a one-point lead after a quarter. Aaron Thompson (eight assists) found Anthony Harris open for multiple threes and PVI got a nice lift from junior Jeremy Robinson (11 points) off the bench.
In the second quarter the Titans started to score prolifically. Even so, Paul VI hung tough and only trailed 42-36 at halftime. The Panthers were particularly good attacking the basket immediately after Trinity scored, often getting a quick lay-up of their own before Trinity could set up its defense.
But for a stretch to open the second half Paul VI couldn’t score while Trinity kept pouring it on. It was three minutes into the third quarter when Robinson buried a three for the Panthers’ first basket of the quarter. A few minutes later Trinity’s Aaron Duhart found Jacobs open for his fifth three-pointer of the game. At that point it was 57-41 Titans. Paul VI didn’t give up but its press didn’t bother Trinity enough to cut into its lead much.
Brandon Slater led five Panthers in double figures. The sensational junior swingman totaled 18 points to go along with his team-high seven rebounds. Freshman Jeremy Roach added 16 points and Harris 15 for the Panthers, who concluded their season at 28-6. While their year ended in disappointment, it was a great season for Farello’s squad, the WCAC regular season co-champions.
Trinity, meanwhile, proved an insurmountable foe to anyone from Northern Virginia. The Titans defeated Episcopal, St. Stephen’s & St. Agnes, South Lakes, Bishop Ireton, Bishop O’Connell and yesterday novahoops.com’s top-rated Panthers in the Richmond team’s dream season.
“All the credit in the world to Trinity,” Farello said. “They played like champions today.”
all stats are unofficial
|Threes: Robinson 3-3, Harris 3-6, Slater 2-5, Latimer 2-5, Roach 0-1, Thompson 0-1, Freeman 0-1|
|Threes: Jacobs 5-7, Nelson 3-3, Wade 2-3, Merritte 0-1, Bacot 0-1, Duhart 0-1|