Every basketball team eagerly awaited a return to the court, having not played competitively for two seasons. Few teams reemerged in finer fashion than Wallingford’s Holy Trinity School Boys Varsity team. Securing an impressive 12 wins in 16 games, the team, and each and every player, continuously improved. Their efforts culminated in an exciting victory on March 27 th in the Greater New Haven Parochial Athletic League Boys Varsity Division Championship game over a formidable St. Lawrence of West Haven team.
Many coaches did not know what to expect of their teams following the missed COVID seasons, but Varsity Head Coach Brandon Desmond seemed to know from the start that this was the year for his basketball team to win it all. He was often heard to say that this group of young men was a special group. He would know. He has coached almost all of the 8th grade players since 4th grade, and he “just knew” that they were coming into their own this year.
Led by fierce 8th grader Bennett Cedillo, the team’s Most Valuable Player this season, the outstanding backcourt was complemented by athletic high-scorer Cooper Hunter and a hugely impactful new teammate, 8th grader Caleb Perez. Cedillo, Hunter and Perez had moments throughout the season where they’d take turns getting hot offensively, draining jump shots and three-pointers with ease. But it was Cedillo’s stifling 1 on 1 defense against the best opposing players in both the semifinal and final games that arguably was the deciding factor in securing those victories.
Like Perez, also new to the team this year was 8th grader Justin Torres. Both Torres and Perez had outstanding first years at Holy Trinity. Torres made his dynamic presence known with consistently intense defense and sky-high rebounding. And speaking of rebounds - intimidating force Jorge Fernandez battled in the paint for each one. Eighth grader Ethan Zuneiga had great improvement this season, becoming the 6th man off the bench in the guard/shooting guard position that coaches dream of, always giving quality minutes on both ends of the court. And no one brought the excitement more than Paul Ummacheril, the team’s final 8th grader, who was always there for his team and got the crowd hyped with his minutes in the forward position.
While there’s no question that this year’s group of 5 graduating players will be missed, their returning teammates are poised and ready to defend their GNHPAL title. Along with frequent starters Hunter and Fernandez, current 7th graders Cooper Drucker, Jackson Signore, Landen Oxford, Ignacio Galvez-Reveles, Luke Manning and Quincy Kalinchak will build on this year’s experience and can’t wait for their final HTS season as 8 th graders. And look for contributions from the current Junior Varsity members, also eager to make their mark in their move up to Varsity. All in all, the 2021-2022 hoops season was phenomenal for HTS’ Boys Varsity and a great send-off to the graduating players. The team thanks their coaches Brandon Desmond, Christian Drucker and Drew Barbieri for volunteering their time for countless hours of practice, for their patience, for emphasizing team play, and for making the game fun! The team also thanks family, friends, teachers and alumni for their support, especially for absolutely rocking the house during the championship game!
To the 2021-2022 HTS Boys Varsity Basketball team - thanks for the memories!!!