February 23rd, 2015

Nativity Academy seizes CSAA title

Block_eric thorne

Eric Thorne

Staff Writer

Nativity Academy seizes CSAA title
Nativity Academy shows off the trophy it got for winning the 8th-Grade #1 A Division crown / photo by Eric Thorne

Stung by its first loss in two years in the final game of the regular season, the Nativity Academy boys’ eighth-grade basketball team was determined it wouldn’t happen again in the playoffs.

Knowing it had to neutralize St. Andrew sharpshooter Jaren McDonald, Nativity used swarming defense to avenge its only loss, to the same Jaguars team, just weeks ago and went on to claim the 8th-Grade #1 A Division title 38-26 Sunday at St. Xavier High School.

“They (St. Andrew) just didn’t hit their shots tonight, but I know they are a great shooting team,” Nativity coach Marc Murphy said. “We didn’t use our height advantage last time against St. Andrew and they executed on their shots. That was on me and I knew that I had to coach better this time. If they hit their threes then they definitely can beat us, just like last time.”

St. Andrew came down the court each time working the ball in and out looking for its shooters. However, what it found were two and sometimes three defenders putting bodies on its bombers.

“They are just so big and they absolutely took Jaren out of the game,” St. Andrew coach Fred Ansert said. “He is the heart and soul of the team and they pretty much shut him down.”

McDonald had to work relentlessly to lead his team with 10 points, but the bigger Nativity team was snaring every missed shot and pushing the pace. He scored his team’s only two baskets of the first quarter.

Meanwhile, Larrell Coleman was slashing down the lane for a scoop shot and a teardrop bucket in the final 30 seconds of the period to give Nativity a 10-6 lead. He finished with 10 points.

Gavin Foushee and Craig Thompson kicked off the second period with buckets in the paint to knot the score at 10, but Nativity responded with its smothering defense and a long outlet pass to Demetri Scott for a layup at the buzzer that extended the lead to 16-13 at halftime.

Jamil Hardaway went to work in the second half for the Eagles, pulling down rebounds and posting up for putbacks. He finished with 13 points to lead Nativity.

“Halftime, Coach told us to keep playing physical defense and that we were almost there with just one half to go,” Hardaway. “He challenged us to stop No. 5 (McDonald) and keep feeding the ball inside.

“I’m just happy because I broke my foot last year at the start of the season and didn’t get to play, so winning the title this year is very special. That loss to them last week was a wakeup call.”

The final period saw more balanced scoring from Nativity as Hardaway led the way with six points.

“Jamil has such raw talent and when he really asserts himself he has the ability to do lot of special things,” Murphy said. “He has great footwork and I think that he will be a very skilled player when he gets to high school.”



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