Rookie Boys Sweep Pair Of Tournaments
The St. Pancras rookie seventh grade boys basketball team recently won the CYO Diocesan B tournament, defeating a very strong Our Lady of Hope team 42-37, securing the championship in the closing minutes of the game at Msgr. McClancy High School in East Elmhurst.
The St. Pancras Cougars started off sluggish as Our Lady of Hope galloped out to a 9-1 lead. The Cougars, however, kept their composure and battled back throughout the rest of the first quarter to keep their opponents from increasing their lead.
St. Pancras righted themselves and found their momentum in the second quarter. Just before the end of the second quarter, ElyasArroyo and Bryan Rodriguez each scored dramatic, back-to-back three-point baskets to narrow the Hope lead to just one point at halftime. The Pancras fans were ecstatic.
Our Lady of Hope maintained a slim lead throughout the third quarter, with both teams trading baskets. This continued through the fourth quarter, until St. Pancras finally took the lead 38-37 with a big rebound and putback for two points by Kyle Pearson. Pearson’s foul shooting throughout the game was effective and helped to keep the Cougars within reach of Hope.
Then, with under a minute left in the game, Kevin Adorno calmly hit two key foul shots for St. Pancras to put them up 40-37. Rodriguez provided the insurance with precious seconds left with a lay-up for two points, sealing the win and championship for St. Pancras.
The Mar. 16 game was highlighted with edge-of-your-seat excitement throughout, especially in the fourth quarter. The players received medals and commemorative shirts during the post-game ceremony. Many St. Pancras fans were in the house that day, including basketball alumni, to support this team of seventh-graders.
The following week, on Mar. 23, the St. Pancras rookie boys brought home their second championship trophy in two weeks, with a hardearned victory over St. Margaret in the 2014 John J. Forte March Madness Tournament at St. Margaret’s in Middle Village.
All year, the emphasis has been on team defense, passing the ball to the open man, and playing as a team. This worked for the Cougars in the tournament.
In the Championship game, the team was led by Rodriguez with 10 points, Pearson with eight points, Beni Mehmedi with six points, and Adorno with six points.
Stellar defense was the focus all season and this game was no different. Elyas Arroyo and Elijah Pina cleaned up the boards with eight and six rebounds, respectively.
The game was close until the end of the third quarter, when St. Pancras went on a 10-0 run led by Rodriguez and Mehmeti to put the game away. The victory was sealed with a late 2- point basket by Stephen Araujo.
The members of the team are: Kevin Adorno; Stephen Araujo; Elyas Arroyo; Josue Delgado; Dawid Kasza; Arben (Beni) Mehmeti; Kyle Pearson; Elijah Pina; Gabriel Pitre; Bryan Rodriguez; Robert Soler; and Johnathan Torres. The team is coached by Charlie Prestipino, assisted by Chuckie Myers and Ricky Wahmann.
Coach Prestipino thanked his assistant coaches and fathers, Mike Mehmeti and Mark Pearson, for their help throughout the season.
The team went undefeated in league play and the C.Y.O. B Tournament, with their only loss in the season to St. Margaret’s in their tournament.