Ed Townsend | Democrat
Former Tri-Valley varsity boys basketball team manager Kainan Justiniano scores two of his five first career points Wednesday in a non-league game against Livingston Manor. After the game he was congratulated by enthusiastic fans who have been looking forward to his breakthrough moment.
Story by Ed Townsend
GRAHAMSVILLE January 21, 2014 The result of the Livingston Manor-Tri-Valley non-league boys’ basketball game last Wed-nesday had already been clearly established.
But with the insertion of former Tri-Valley team manager Kainan Justiniano into the final minutes of the fourth quarter, the hometown fans were on their edge of their seats in anticipation.
Justiniano, a junior, had served as the team manager for the last two years and secured a playing spot on the team roster this year. But, through the first six games, he had had seen minimal playing time and had not scored any points.
With Tri-Valley in complete control of the game, leading 68-43, Justiniano’s teammates made several attempts to get the ball to him, but several of his shots met with no success.
Then at the 1:49 mark, a pass from Jarred James to an open Kainan got the results everyone was looking for as his three-point shot ripped the twine and Tri-Valley fans erupted with their approval.
"Even with all of our wins and some of them buzzer beaters in that gym, I have never heard it louder than it was when Kainan hit his shot," said Tri-Valley coach Brian Tingley, who noted that the fans and community have high admiration for Kainan who is known to be a nice kid, well mannered and well-liked.
About a minute after his three-pointer, James found Justiniano open again, this time under the basket for a layup. He had the first five points of his career.
When the game ended, fans raced onto the court with hugs and congratulations for Justiniano.
In a fast-paced first quarter, Tri-Valley jumped out to a 21-12 lead as a result of its stifling and smothering defense which resulted in numerous Manor turnovers.
Tri-Valley’s Sam Tingley opened the second quarter of play with two driving layups which helped the Bears increase the Bears outscore Manor 23-6 and take a 44-18 halftime lead.
Tingley continued his scoring in the third quarter with two more driving layups and a three-pointer as Tri-Valley essentially put the game away.
Tingley praised his team's efforts. “We came out with big energy early and took a big lead and we were in good shape at halftime.
“The guys did well defensively and on the boards."
The coach had high praise for who he said "did a good job getting Kainan the ball in places where he could hit a shot."
James is credited with having double digit assists as well as locking down Manor's high-scoring point guard Matt Janik who finished the night with six points. Additional praise from Tingley went to "Mike Post and Stephen Carleton who had good games on the boards when our big guys got in early foul trouble."
Tingley led the Bears with 13 points and Thomas Mungeer added 10. Tri-Valley improved to 5-2 overall.
Terrance Lockhart led Livingston Manor with 11 points. Evan Taggart added seven points for the Wildcats, who fell to 3-4 overall.