Maplewood – South Orange St. Joseph’s CYO Basketball Round-Up

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The following is from Sarah Coffey


Will Walsh (33) attempts a free throw against St. Helen’s as Jerry Browne (53) waits for the rebound.

The JV blue boys Meola won 35-15 Saturday at home against Koinonia. After a tight first quarter up only 6-4, they played strong and held Koinonia to 11 points for the rest of the game. John Pirone was the high scorer with 19 points. Henry Aaron contributed 10, including 2 from the line, Declan Cavanaugh has 4 and Liam Haley had 2. The top 2 offensive plays of the game were both in the 2nd quarter. Pirone grabbed one of his 12 rebounds and went coast to coast ending in a gorgeous layup. A few minutes later, Aaron ball faked then bounce passed to Cavanaugh who hit a short jumper. Lukas Alexander played tough defense and he and Cian O’Connor were relentless in setting picks on offense and traps in the full court press. Justin DeVomecourt was aggressive on defense and caused multiple turnovers and fought for the ball on both ends of the court. Collectively, the team had one of its best games under the boards and put on a rebounding clinic.

The St. Joseph Celtics JV 5th grade girls moved to 5-0 on the season with a 16-10 win over Our Lady of Peace on Friday night. Talia Baptiste led all scorers in the game, while Catherine Holt, Peyton Hollis and Summer Lonning rounded out the scoring for the Celtics.  Emile Clitus, Amelia Lisco, Hannah Straub and Paloma Duvergne played strong defense to help hold OLP to two points in the first half.

With only six players available for their first game of 2017, the 6th grade St. Joe’s Celtic White team improved to 4-1 after posting a 19-9 victory over Holy Trinity in Westfield. Jerimiah Cook, with solid rebounding led all scorers with 11, Callan Bauer added 6 and Charlie Giannone, whose contributions on the defensive end were significant, scored 2. Assisting in the defensive effort were Sebastian Pappas, Declan O’Connell and Malachy Meyer.

The 4th Grade Celtics won twice this weekend, defeating St. Bartholomew’s 22-10 on Saturday and winning a thrilling nail-biter against St. Helen’s on Sunday evening by a score of 28-25. Against St. Bart’s, the Celtics had a 2 point lead at halftime, but Will Walsh hit a pull-up jumper in the 3rd quarter to spark a 14-4 second half run that resulted in the final margin of victory. Kieran Dawkins had 14 points and Harrison Zabik swished two corner jumpers for 4 points. Thomas Campbell sunk 2 free throws to round out the Celtics scoring.

On Sunday, a strong 3rd quarter allowed St. Helen’s to build an 18-9 lead heading into the 4th quarter. But the Celtics stormed back in the final period scoring a team-record 19 points in the quarter. Trailing by 1 with 36 seconds remaining, Kieran Dawkins drained a 15 foot jumper to give the Celtics the lead and a steal by Flynn Larson followed by two free throws from Dawkins sealed the game for the Celtics who are now 5-0 in league play. Dawkins had 13 of his 14 points in the final quarter. Harrison Zabik scored 8 points. Flynn Larson’s late layup and Jerry Browne’s offensive rebound basket were key plays in the comeback victory. Luke Davenport and Thomas Campbell also made clutch plays.

The 6th Grade Green team lost their first game in league play this season on Saturday against St. Helen’s. St. Helen’s built a 20-8 lead at the half, but the Celtics regrouped. The 12 point half-time deficit was erased and the Celtics led by as many as 8 points in the 4th quarter. St. Helen’s tied the game with less than 10 seconds remaining to force overtime. In overtime, St. Helen’s made 3-point shots on their first two possessions building what turned out to be an insurmountable lead, winning the game 45-41. Mike Pirone again led the Celtics in scoring with 18 points. Brendan Dawkins added 11 and Patrick Campbell had 10. Pirone, Campbell and Dawkins all split time at point guard handling the ball against constant pressure. William Walsman added a transition layup in the 3rd quarter run by the Celtics. Nicholas Alexander drew a key offensive foul for the second time this season and Max Larson and Owen Holt combined for 7 rebounds. Liam Laskowski and Nicholas Franklin played tough defense for the Celtics from their guard spots.

For the second time in the last 3 years, the St. Joseph’s Celtics 6th Grade boys team won their age group at the annual St. Helen’s Christmas basketball tournament. The Celtics defeated Green Brook by a score of 40-37. The Celtics built an early 4 point lead behind the strong inside presence of John Pirone (who finished with 8 points). But Green Brook used a balanced attack to build a 4 point half-time lead. In the second half, the Celtics turned to their full-court pressure defense to mount a comeback. Mike Pirone was unstoppable: he handled the ball against pressure, dominated the backboards on both ends of the court and tallied 18 points to go along with 12 rebounds and 4 steals. Brendan Dawkins contributed 12 points, including 8 in a decisive stretch late in the 4th quarter to help seal the victory. And Patrick Campbell ran the point for the Celtics, tallying 4 assists, 3 steals and 2 points. Celtics guards Liam Laskowski and Nicholas Franklin added 4 steals and forwards Max Larson, Danny Guarnieri and Owen Holt helped the Celtics out-rebound Green Brook and displayed excellent interior passing, consistently finding open teammates near the basket. In the run to the championship game, Mike Pirone, Brendan Dawkins and Nicholas Alexander each earned game MVP honors.

The St. Joseph’s Celtics 4th Grade boys competed in the annual St. Helen’s Christmas Tournament. The Celtics continued their fine play as the captured 2nd place in the tournament, dropping the championship game to a strong squad from Scotch Plains. Earlier in the tournament, the Celtics picked up wins against OLP and St. Helen’s. Kieran Dawkins took home game MVP honors against OLP as he tallied 14 points in the 21-7 victory. Against St. Helen’s, St. Joseph’s displayed great balance cruising to a 30-16 victory behind 12 points from Jerry Browne, 10 from Dawkins and 5 from game MVP Flynn Larson. Harrison Zabik added 3 from his shooting guard spot for the Celtics. In the Championship game, the Celtics displayed toughness and managed to keep the score tied after 2 quarters. But Scotch Plains depth took over in the second half as 8 players scored for the tournament champions. Dawkins (9), Larson (4) and Browne (2) scored for the Celtics and Browne picked up Celtics game MVP honors. Thomas Campbell and Harrison Zabik handled the ball well and Luke Davenport contributed 5 rebounds from his forward position.


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