February 23rd, 2015

St. Francis of Assisi wins CSAA crown

Block_eric thorne

Eric Thorne

Staff Writer

St. Francis of Assisi wins CSAA crown
St. Francis of Assisi celebrates after winning the CSAA’s #2 A Division championship / photo by Eric Thorne

It took nearly a whole season, but the light bulb came on just in time for the St. Francis of Assisi eighth-grade boys’ basketball team.

SFA rode seven straight points to open the fourth period from Peter Schoenbachler to surge past St. Nicholas Academy en route to a 30-27 victory and capture the CSAA’s #2 A Division championship Sunday at St. Xavier High School. 

“All season long the coaches have called these kids ‘The Uncoachables,’ ” Cougars head coach Mark Jacob said. “They wouldn’t listen, didn’t do what we wanted them to do or anything. But today they showed that they are ‘The Coachables’. I don’t why or what finally happened, but they came together and played hard as a team.”

Schoenbachler said SFA showed a lot of heart in pulling out the victory.

“Coach kept telling us to knock down our shots, use the pick and roll and we could do it,” said Schoenbachler, who finished with seven points. “We played our best game of the season last week (against St. Stephen Martyr) and it carried into this week, thankfully. It finally clicked for us.”

Ethan Jacob scored all six of his points while the Cougars bolted to an 8-2 lead after the first period.

St. Nicholas fought back in the second period with more balanced scoring and second chance buckets. Tyler Hendrickson dropped in four of his eight points and Jason Higdon scored three of his six as the Panthers drew within 16-13 at the intermission.

SFA went cold in the third period with only a pair of baskets. St. Nicholas finally drew even at 18 with 1:50 to play on Cole Vance’s putback of a missed free throw. Corey McGarvey drained a three-pointer for SFA on the ensuing possession, but a three by Ethan Meecha and Alexander Gates’ lay-in with 10 seconds left gave St. Nicholas its first and only lead at 23-21.

Gates finished with six points and Meecha added five for the Panthers, who hurt themselves with 4-of-22 free-throw shooting.

Chris Willis led St. Francis of Assisi with eight points.

“I’m very proud of these kids,” Jacob said. “They had kind of a defeatist attitude early in the season, but we kept pushing and reading a motivational poem to them before every game. They would fall behind and struggle to pick themselves up, but we always told them to respect their opponent, respect their teammates and respect St. Francis and their faith and in the end it would pay off. In the end, it did for all of them.”


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