It was a light week of league-wide GOYA action this week, as only four churches were in competition at Holy Trinity in Wilmington this week as we inch ever closer to the playoffs. While we were light on games, we were certainly heavy on fireworks, as an intense day of competition was capped off by one of the wildest finishes to a GOYA game in recent memory.
Holy Trinity (Egg Harbor) Girls – 36, Evangelismos Girls – 22
The day began with an undefeated season on the line, as Holy Trinity (Egg Harbor) entered the day needing a win versus Evangelismos to clinch the top seed in the playoffs, as well as a perfect regular season. After a hard fought three quarters the girls in blue pulled away late en route to a 36-22 victory over the girls from the Boulevard. A balanced attack led by Despina Lianidis, the girls from Egg Harbor were able to pull away late thanks to their overall team speed. The win sees Holy Trinity finish with a perfect 6-0 record (their second in three years I am told) and will have them going into the playoffs in January as the team to beat once again.
Give a lot of credit for the girls from Evangelismos as they gave Holy Trinity all they could handle before falling short late. Francesca Bogiatzis did all she could to keep the Bustleton girls in the game, drawing the focus of the Holy Trinity defense in the process. In the end they fell just short, but with the way they played on the day this could potentially shape up to be a championship preview. The loss puts Evangelismos at 1-2 heading into a big game versus St. Luke’s girls in two weekends.
Holy Trinity (Egg Harbor) Boys – 30, Evangelismos Boys – 18
In a rematch of last year’s heart-stopping semi-final contest, the boys from the Shore took on the boys from the Boulevard in a game with huge playoff implications. In a game that was missing a little star power with both teams missing key players, the boys in blue pulled off a victory in a huge defensive battle, coming out on top 30-18. Led by the big trio of Athanasios Mertis, Yanni Dendrinos, and John Liacopoulos, Holy Trinity won the battle for the boards, which proved to be the difference in a game that lacked much offensive firepower. The win finishes Holy Trinity’s regular season with a 5-2 record, and, improbably, an inside track to capture one of the two byes in the boy’s playoff.
Without standout guards Cole Pletcher and Cameron Elliott, the boys from the Boulevard struggled to get anything going offensively on the day, despite big efforts by Vasili Mantsos and Antonio Nakos, who did everything they could to lead a young supporting cast to a victory. Foul trouble also hurt Evangelismos’ chances, as they were forced to finish the game with only four players on the court. If these boys can get healthy they can and will pose a threat come playoff time for sure. The loss drops Evangelismos into a three-way tie for fourth place at 2-3, with a few weeks off to regroup and get healthy before taking on St. George Media on December 14th.
St. Luke Girls – 28, Holy Trinity (Wilmington) Girls – 12
The Broomall girls certainly looked like a team to be reckoned with come playoff time this weekend, as they got back on the winning track with a decisive 28-12 victory over the host girls from Holy Trinity. A balanced attack led by Maria Raptis saw the girls in red control the game from start to finish, giving them a firm grasp on a playoff spot at 3-2, and with an outside chance at a first-round bye should they close out with a win and get some league-wide help in December. St. Luke’s girls will close out their regular season in two weeks against Evangelismos.
It was a tough day for Holy Trinity’s girls, who struggled to mount any offensive surges throughout the game. there is certainly talent on this team and if they can pull it together they can pose a matchup nightmare come playoff time should they get in. Holy Trinity closes out their season against powerhouse St. Thomas in two weeks, and then will be doing a healthy bit of scoreboard watching as they will have to wait and see where the chips fall in terms of the sixth and final playoff spot in the girl’s bracket.
St. Luke Boys – 48, Holy Trinity (Wilmington) Boys – 42
Now, let me preface by saying that, all year long, I have spoken about what a wild and crazy league the boy’s league has been. That being said, the prime time matchup between St. Luke and Holy Trinity’s boy’s teams might have been the most bizarre contest in the 35 year history of GOYA basketball in the Delaware Valley. Holy Trinity’s boys, with only five players present, were forced into foul trouble by the aggressive attacking St. Luke’s team. Late in the game, and with Holy Trinity in the lead, the host boys were forced to play down a man. Led by Dino Matulas, the Wilmington boys were able to cling to that lead, until an unfortunate ankle injury suffered by Panos Tzinoudis (we wish him all the best on a speedy recovery), forced the Holy Trinity boys to play out the game 5 on 3… and they STILL were able to stay in the game. Finally, more foul trouble saw Matulas foul out late, forcing Holy Trinity to have to finish the game at a 5-on-2 disadvantage, which I can say in all my years of watching basketball I have never seen before. Normally I would start with the victorious team in my analysis, but when you finish a game 5-on-2, and are able to hang on and lose by only (essentially) two baskets, I think it bears noting. I tip my hat off to the Holy Trinity boys for their effort in the loss, which drops them to 2-3, with their final two games going against the top two teams in the league in Annunciation Elkins Park and St. Thomas Cherry Hill. The boys from Delaware will need to win one of those two games to secure a playoff spot.
For the boys from St. Luke, who have seen four of their five losses on the season come down to the final few minutes, it was good to see the boys finally pull one out in the end and get a much-needed win to keep their slim playoff hopes alive. Led by the return of Greg Vlassopoulos, the Broomall boys were able to attack and generate fouls, which, as we can see, was very clearly the difference in the game. Now begins a very long December for the boy’s from St. Luke, who finish their season at 2-5, and will need to scoreboard watch (particularly from their closest neighbors in Media and WIlmington) to see if they will get a ticket to the playoffs in January. But to illustrate just how wacky this year has been, a team that looked dead in the water a week ago, now actually has a very realistic shot at backdooring into the final playoff spot by year’s end.
I want to wish all of our readers a very happy, healthy, and safe Thanksgiving. As always, I am thankful for friends, family, and GOYA Basketball! Stay tuned all throughout December here on Cosmos Philly as we cover the home stretch of the Del Val regular season.