MAPLEWOOD, NJ – The St. Joseph’s CYO basketball teams’ seasons are heating up.
The Sixth Grade boys white team defeated St. Michaels of Union Saturday 46-28. Callan Bauer looked comfortable as he led all scorers with 15 points. Jerimiah Cook added 9 points and 14 rebounds, with 11 of those on the offensive end. Chibuikem Onyemaechi wowed the crowd with a nifty behind-the-back dribble and step-back jumper for 2 of his 8 points, while Charlie Giannone, who returned from illness, had 3 steals and 6 rebounds along with 5 points. Veteran point guard Malachy Meyer added 4, new addition Henry Aaron had 3 and Sebastian Pappas completed the scoring adding 2 points, while also grabbing 6 rebounds.
The JV boys blue Meola team won Saturday 35-23 against St. James. Six of the eight Celtics available for the game contributed to the scoring. John Pirone led with 13, Henry Aaron and Declan Cavanaugh each had six, Liam Haley had four and Lukas Alexander and Justin DeVomecourt each had a bucket. Aaron Budd played tenacious defense throughout the game and deflected many St. James passes, saving many points. Conor Cavanaugh was relentless on defense and helped to execute a strong full-court press in the second half. Haley executed a gorgeous pass to Alexander for a picture perfect shot. Henry Aaron drove down the court in the third quarter, executing a Westbrookesque spin move on two defenders and nailing a jumper.
The Fourth Grade Celtics picked up a key league win on Sunday, defeating All Saints in Bayonne 32-14. The Celtics started strong, building a 16-point halftime lead behind excellent ball and player movement. Six Celtics players scored, led by Kieran Dawkins (11) and Thomas Campbell (7). Will Kostka, filling in for the shorthanded Celtics, added 6 points, showcasing his jump shot and aggressive drives to the basket. Harrison Zabik sunk a running jumper at the end of the third quarter for the Celtics. Luke Davenport scored on an offensive rebound and a mid-range jumper and the play of the game was Harrison Zabik finding Justin Connell in the paint for a sweet jumper that touched nothing but net. Tim Van der North led the Celtics with 7 rebounds and Jerry Browne, Alex Szczepanski and Flynn Larson anchored the Celtics’ defense.
The Sixth Grade boys green team picked up two league victories last weekend, clinching the second seed heading into the playoffs. On Saturday, the Celtics outlasted Holy Trinity in Westfield 47-36.
The Celtics used their pressure defense to force a fast pace and create turnovers and scoring opportunities. Mike Pirone had
21 points, 12 rebounds and 4 steals to lead the way. Guards Patrick Campbell and Brendan Dawkins added 11 and 9 points each. Those three Celtics turned in the play of the game as Pirone blocked a shot and connected with Dawkins on an outlet pass who found a streaking Campbell for a fast-break layup that epitomized the game action. Danny Guarnieri was rewarded for his relentless rebounding with 4 points on putbacks and William Walsman added a transition layup.
On Sunday, the Sixth Grade team downed St. Michael’s from Union 36-15. All eight Celtics players scored as the Celtics’ unselfish play and teamwork led to multiple opportunities for easy baskets. Brendan Dawkins had 12 points and Mike Pirone added 10 to lead the scoring. Max Larson sunk a jumper and a layup for 4 points and Nicholas Alexander was 3-for-4 at the foul line. Nicholas Franklin had 4 steals and sunk a free throw. Mike Pirone added 2 beautiful assists in the second half, finding Liam Laskowski for a jumper in the lane and Owen Holt for a bucket underneath the hoop. William Walsman rounded out the Celtics scoring, converting on a drive to the basket.
Coach Bruce Rounsavill’s Third Grade boys team won 21-13 against St. John’s on Sunday. The game was a tight, back-and-forth match for three quarters, and tied 11-11 going into the final quarter. St. Joe’s then went on a 10-2 run to pull out a victory. Ryan Fay scored 8 points, Nathaniel Wack added 4, Josh Pieroni chipped in 2 and Evan Straub added 1 more. Eric DeVomecourt hustled for 6 rebounds and 6 points, and Emmanuel Canuto and Derek Rounsavill worked hard to tie up the St. John’s players and chase down loose balls.
The JV girls beat St. Michael’s of Cranford 16-9 on Saturday. The Celtics started strong, controlling the boards with Mia Hankey, Leah Connell, and Evelyn Calabrese grabbing 10 rebounds apiece. Siobhan Bracken led all scorers with 6 points and also combined with Ruby Aylward for 10 steals. Sophia Franklin assisted on a late basket by Ella Mansfield to give the Celtics some breathing room.
The JV girls played again on Sunday against St. Michael’s of Union and won 26-3. The team controlled the tempo of the game with Ruby Aylward, Jamie Fardin and Siobhan Bracken securing the ball and making great passes to open players. The victory was a team effort, as all 10 girls were able to score with Katie O’Mara, Evelyn Calabrese, and Leah Connell combining for 12 points. Mia Hankey and Ella Mansfield worked hard on the defensive end, grabbing strong rebounds as Sophia Franklin and Maggie Callahan, on top of the defense, were a disruptive force providing tight ball pressure and causing turnovers.