MAPLEWOOD/SOUTH ORANGE – The Saint Joseph Celtics CYO basketball program sent nine teams into the CYO finals games the weekend of March 5-6. The championship games were played at a combination of Union Catholic High School and Jonathan Dayton High School.
The Pee Wee Girls Celtics won the championship game at Dayton High School in Springfield against All Saints of Bayonne by a score of 14-12. The Celtics used balanced scoring, with tallies coming from Zahra Alexander, Talia Baptiste, Paloma Duvergne, Catherine Holt, Stephanie James, and Alison Leibensperger. Summer Lonning, Peyton Hollis, Katie Callahan, Aliyah St. Vil, and Campbell Connell led the intense defense and stellar rebounding to control the game. The Celtics finished the year with an 11-3 record.
Saint Joseph Pee Wee Boys (White Division) squad capped off the season with a victory and was crowned champions; beating St. James. However, the Pee Wee Boys (Blue Division) team lost in a tough finals battle to St. Helen’s.
The Saint Joseph Fifth Grade boys lost in the championship game to Holy Trinity.
The St Joseph Celtics Sixth Grade boys’ quest for the championship came to an end on Sunday afternoon, as well. Despite the boys’ valiant effort, they came up short by falling 27-21 to a very talented Our Lady of Peace team. The Celtics’ offense was spearheaded by sharp shooting Buchi Amobi. Key points were also added by Nick Lorenzo and Nico Reyes to keep the team close at the end of the game. Meanwhile the team’s defensive efforts were led by Ale Lorenzo, Kye Haniph, and Ryan Barrett. Using their quickness and intelligence, they made numerous defensive stops throughout the game. The Celtics’ season-long rebounding dominance continued with Damian Cataneo, Alexander Werbaneth, Ryan Nnoli, and Alex Iozzio winning their battles under the basket. These players just hustled their way to the ball, causing multiple opportunities for second-chance points in the offensive end.
Although all of the boys are very disappointed losing this game, they are looking forward to beating their next opponent in the team’s first annual Players versus Parents Challenge.
The Saint Joseph Seventh Grade boys closed out an excellent 10-3 season on Sunday, falling to St. James in the championship game by a score of 25-44. Derrick Baptiste led Saint Joe’s in scoring with 10 points and was followed closely by Colin Williams, who contributed eight points. Cole Latimer dropped in three, and Nicholas Aaron and Patrick Dawkins rounded out the scoring with two points each.
Despite battling much bigger opponents under the boards, Matt Morales and Anthony Fuschetto led the Celtics in rebounds, contributing six and five rebounds, respectively.
The Saint Joseph Varsity girls ended their season with a loss against All Saints. The high school sophomore and senior boys team lost, as well, despite a strong season-ending effort.
St. Joseph’s CYO is a shared parish ministry for the Catholic parishioners of Our Lady of Sorrows in South Orange and South Joseph’s in Maplewood. St. Joseph’s has 18 teams for girls and boys in Grades 2 – 12.