Sectional Championship Winners
By Bill Swensen
St. Camillus sixth grade girls CYO team capped off a terrific season by winning their divisional playoffs and then securing the sectional division title in the Diocesan playoffs. In order to accomplish this the team had to make it to the ‘Elite Eight’ in the Diocesan playoffs. Since the playoffs began with about 50 teams this was no easy feat. It should also be noted that the team who finally knocked us out (St. Adalberts) ended up in the Diocesan championship game.
The game against Adalbert was played at St. Gregory and our girls seemed a little tentative at first. This allowed Adalbert to jump out to an early 15 point lead. However, the girls kept battling, and slowly but surely began to climb back into the game. As usual it was the defense that provided the spark we needed. Kristina Smith and Hope Johnson caused some big turnovers on the press to help get us going. Then Morgan Shannon and Samantha Swensen caught fire and started knocking down everything they put up. Pouring in 14 points apiece by the end of the game. Scoring was coming from everywhere, with some especially key shots from Tara Mink and Katie Scherpf at critical moments of the game. Kathleen Firtle then chipped in with some huge foul shots and before you knew it the team was within 5 points of the lead. St. Adalberts was rattled. Danielle Donlon and Kara Bobby kept up the pressure constantly battling under the boards and doing a brilliant job preventing the opponent from getting any second shots. However, despite a great effort from all the players (Allana Quinn forget your education the next time, we need you), the team fell just a little short on this day. We will definitely be back to try again next year.
The team also played in a Bantam tournament at Corpus Christi over the winter vacation and really did quite well. We only lost one game in the tournament. The loss was to St. Mary Winfield by four points. Not bad considering that Mary Winfield finished third in the Diocesan playoffs and only lost to the eventual champions (St. Francis de Sales – way to go girls) by six points. We also pulled off an exciting come from behind victory against St. Mary Gate of Heaven. A game in which we trailed at the outset 11 to 0, and never took a lead until there were 30 seconds left in the game.
Lastly keep your eye on our Bantam and Junior boys teams who continue along their playoff roads. The Bantam boys, after defeating St. Thomas Apostle, play St. Francis de Sales at St. Francis on Saturday, March 5 at 11 a.m. The Junior boys, after winning a beautifully played last minute squeaker against St Benedict Joseph, will play St. Thomas Apostle or Nativity at St. Mary Gate of Heaven on Sunday, March 5 at 8 p.m.
Well that about wraps it up for the girls this year. Thank you to all the parents for their ongoing support from year to year. A truly great bunch of people to be around. A special thank you goes out to Joanne Smith for all her help this year at every game, home or away, and to Barbara Swensen for managing the kitchen and for always making the environment at St. Camillus so pleasant (she also puts up with non-stop basketball talk for five months). Then lastly, the girls on the team should all be very proud of how much they accomplished this year. Everyone on the team played a part and everyone on the team improved, and because of those improvements we were able to go further in the playoffs this year then we ever have before. It was a lot of fun being with you guys all year, and let’s hope next season gets here fast because we’re going to do even better.