In a game featuring arguably the two top programs in New Jersey, St. Patrick's (28-4) jumped out to an early lead behind star underclassmen Corey Fisher and Derrick Caracter. With Caracter having his way in the paint and St. Pat's playing stifling defense, Seton Hall Prep (30-1) trailed 19-6 at the end of the first period.
Seton Hall Prep started to cut into the lead late in the second period, as Costner drilled two 3-pointers in the final minutes of the half to narrow St. Patrick's lead to 30-23.
After halftime, the McDonald's All-American simply took over, as his strong play in the paint and on the perimeter was too much for St. Patrick's. He knocked down a big shot whenever Seton Hall Prep needed it, including a 3-pointer with just over two minutes left in the game to give Seton Hall Prep a three-point lead.
St. Patrick's never could recover, and Seton Hall Prep hit several crucial free throws down the stretch to seal the victory. Fisher's 3-pointer at the buzzer was off the mark and Seton Hall Prep won the Tournament of Champions, 63-60.
Caracter led the way for St. Patrick's with 23 points and 15 rebounds.
Costner's 31 points, 10 rebounds, and five assists capped a terrific career at Seton Hall Prep. He drilled five 3-pointers and was 10-of-12 from the free throw line. The 6'9 combo forward, who missed the Roundball Classic to play in the Tournament of Champions final, now prepares for the upcoming McDonald's All-American Game.
This year's game will be played in South Bend, Ind. on March 30, airing at 8 p.m. (EST) on ESPN. Costner will be the fourth McDonald's All-American to play at NC State under head coach Herb Sendek, joining former Wolfpack players Damien Wilkins and Scooter Sherrill and current star Julius Hodge.
Additional Note: NC State signee Courtney Fells, a 6'6 guard from Shannon, Miss., has been named Gatorade Player of the Year for the state of Mississippi. Fells averaged nearly 23 points, nine rebounds, and eight assists as a senior.