St. Joseph’s CYO basketball teams advance to finals



MAPLEWOOD, NJ – The St. Joseph’s CYO basketball teams enjoyed fine playoff action.

The 6th Grade girls defeated St. John’s on Sunday, March 4, in the semifinals of the White Division, 20-9. Opening up strong, Talia Baptiste had a fast break to start the game with her signature left-handed layup to start the Celtics as they quickly dominated the playoff game.

Kate Driscoll and Summer Lonning were strong in the middle, both putting up two points each before the half. Paloma Duvergne drove to the basket, hitting a textbook jump shot for the Celtics. Hannah Straub hit two points off a pass from Amelia Lisco to close out the half, 12-9.
In the second half, Megan Driscoll, Catherine Holt and Ava Pickering continued to lock down St. John’s defense. Susanna Knutsen, Emilie Clitus and Rory Weldon led the team with steals, once again showcasing St. Joseph’s dominant defense.

Lonning and Baptise each had four more points to seal the Celtics’ spot as the top seed in the final.

The 7th Grade Boys White team continued its unbeaten season by beating the much taller Our Lady of Peace team on Sunday, March 4, in a semifinal playoff contest. The game was close in the first half, but St. Joe’s pulled out a 27-21 victory thanks to a tenacious full-court press in the second half.

Shooting guard Chibuikem Onyemaechi nailed his first two three-point shots, helping St. Joe’s to an 8-7 lead at the end of the first quarter. Callen Bauer contributed two of his game-high seven points in the quarter. Our Lady of Peace’s 1-3-1 zone defense limited St. Joe’s inside opportunities.

Connor Ward led the team in the second quarter, hitting a jumper and two free throws. Sebastian Pappas, Declan O’Connell and Charlie Giannone were the backbone of the St. Joe’s defense that held Our Lady of Peace to four points in the quarter.

Jeremiah Cook got on the score sheet in the third quarter after grabbing an offensive rebound among the trees. This allowed the team to set up the full-court press that broke open a tight game. Derek Mingmongkol attacked the boards and was all over the place on defense. Malachy Meyer had a steal and three blocked shots despite playing point guard.

Coach Keith Meyer complimented his team. “The boys turned up the intensity in the second half. The team’s effort on defense was the difference. Our Lady of Peace was much improved from earlier in the season. We are looking forward to next Sunday’s championship game (March 11).”

The 4th Grade team won a convincing semifinal playoff game against Holy Trinity, 30-13, Saturday, March 3. Defense and rebounding proved to be the keys to the game again with the Celtics holding Holy Trinity to under 4 points in the first half. The Celtics are holding their opponents to 11 points per game for the season. Every player for the Celtics scored in the game, and assists outnumbered turnovers by four to one. The Celtics will play in the finals on Saturday, March 10, at 9 a.m.