SFDS Celebrates Holiday Season As Xmas Tournament Comes To a Close
The 23rd Annual St. Francis Christmas Basketball Tournament came to a rousing conclusion on Saturday December 29. The Subnovice Championship started the day and St. Francis Blue ran out to a lead behind 8 points from Teddy Stathis. Our Lady of Hope did not give up and chipped away at the lead to force overtime with the score tied at 10.
Thomas Lignowski then scored the only basket in the extra session as Our Lady of Hope became the first to wear the champions' shirts. Sean Nolan of OLH was named MVP.
For St. Francis, Teddy Stathis was named Outstanding Player, Kyle Hoffman and Jack Watt was All-Tournament and Michael Sullivan received the Sportsmanship award.
For the St. Francis Gold team, Billy McDonnell and Matt Schoenfeld were All-Tournament and Jonathan Edwards received the Sportsmanship award.
The Pee Wees was next. Prior to the finals, St. Francis Gold knocked Gate of Heaven to the loser's bracket with an impressive 30-17 win as Alex Goldberg scored 13 points and Eoin Reen added 7.
Ryan Moran scored 12 points as St. Francis Blue eliminated St. Margaret to set up a rematch with Gate of Heaven. The Blue team fell behind after three quarters but rallied behind Matt DeCrescenzo, only to come up short 26- 20. DeCrescenzo scored 9 in defeat.
Saturday's championship was a defensive struggle and St. Francis gained the emotional edge early on as Alex Goldberg beat the buzzer for the second time in the tournament, with a halfcourt shot that put St. Francis Gold into the lead.
From there, the story was John Boyle, who constantly thwarted Gate with 8 blocked shots while dominating the boards and adding 6 points. The hosts prevailed, 15-9, for the title.
Alex Goldberg was named MVP with John Boyle and Eoin Reen receiving the All-Tournament award, and Kyle Connolly received the Sportsmanship award.
For the St. Francis Blue, Ryan Moran and Matt DeCrescenzo were All- Tournament and Thomas Glynn received the Sportsmanship.
The Novice final was also a rematch as Blessed Sacrament worked its way back after falling to St. Francis, 45-35, on Wednesday. Charles Gavigan scored 15 points and Bard Featherston chipped in with 10 for St. Francis.
Saturday's game stayed close throughout. Gavigan led again with 16 points as St. Francis squeezed out a 33- 30 victory. Gavigan was named MVP. John Whelan and Chris Ray were selected to the All-Tournament team, and Jordan Asbury received the Sportsmanship award.
Other awards in the Novice division included Aidan Morgan and Joe Brown of St. Rose and Matt Regan and Brian Ganun of St. Thomas More to the All- Tournament team. Luke Gersh of St. Rose and Conor Leary of St. Thomas received Sportsmanship awards.
The St. Francis Cheerleaders followed with an entertaining performance as the gym filled up for the special awards
This is one of the highlights of the tournament as players from St. Francis are recognized for their sportsmanship and teamwork throughout the season with awards named for current and former members of the CYO program.
Here are this year's Award Winners. Subnovice Division Awards; Rev. Louis DeGaetano- Jonathan Machado' Danny Onorato Memorial-James McFadden; St. Patricia Chelius-Peter Tuffey; Michael Andrews Memorial- Andrew O'Sullivan.
Pee Wee Division Awards: Peter McManus Memorial-Johnny O'Connor; Richie Bogart Memorial- Mark Butigian; John Cuneen Memorial- Christian Apice; Jim McKeon- Ryan Olsen.
Novice Division Awards: Dorothy Brenna-Jimmy Howard; Chris Lawler Memorial-Tommy Morgan; Terry Flynn Memorial- Garrett Murnan; Marty Andresen- Conor Ryan; Kathie Lawler- Mark Tammaro.
Bantam Division Awards: Msgr. Martin Geraghty- Patrick Cashin; Savino Fazzolari- Dylan Evans; Charlie Heeran Memorial- Niall Reen; Sr. Margaret Memorial- Paul Rayder; Walter Blum Memorial - Alex Moule.
Rookie Division Awards: Lenny Bishop Patrick Goldberg; Sean O'Hagan Memorial- Conor Rayder; Richie Allen Memorial- Jimmy Wolfer; Walter Hynes Memorial-Ryan Kilgallen; Chet McNulty Memorial- Sean Morgan.
Intermediate Division Awards: Msgr. John Brown-Patrick Kilgallen; Joe DeMarco Memorial-Scott Appelman; Joe Kenel Sr. Memorial- Liam Reen; Keith Goldberg- Kevin Cregan; Teddy Marshall Memorial- Liam Ryan.
The Tim Stackpole Memorial was also awarded to a member of the Good Shepherd program.
Play then resumed with the Bantam Championship which pitted St. Francis against Blessed Sacrament.
When the teams first met the previous Sunday, St. Francis managed a 46- 45 win to vault to the championship. Blessed Sacrament then outlasted a tough St. Thomas More squad to earn the rematch.
In a tournament full of highlights, this one would top them all. Blessed Sacrament took a 21-15 lead at the half before a third quarter blitz put St. Francis up 30-25. The Staten Island boys then took the lead again and stretched it to 6 points.
St. Francis rallied again and Niall Reen went to the line for two shots. Two timeouts by Blessed Sacrament to ice him served only to put an exclamation mark as he calmly hit both to force overtime.
Blessed Sacrament again took control and appeared to have it won with a 6- point lead and less than 30 seconds remaining.
Patrick Cashin cut the lead in half with a 3-pointer from the left slot before Michael Buckley drained the tying shot at the buzzer from two feet behind the 3-point line with two defenders draped over him.
It was too much for Blessed Sacrament to withstand and in the second overtime, St. Francis completed the miracle to win, 55-52.
Buckley turned in perhaps the top performance in the 23-year history of the tournament, pouring in 38 points in every imaginable way to a clear selection as MVP.
Niall Reen and Patrick Cashin were selected All-Tournament and Dennis Barnes received the Sportsmanship Award. For St. Thomas More, Kevin Crockett and Christian Conlon were named All-Tournament, while Billy Collins was the Sportsmanship recipient.
Everyone exhaled and then settled in for the marquee game of the tournament as the St. Francis gym filled to capacity. In keeping with the trend of the day, the Rookie final also was a return engagement.
The St. Francis- St. Helen series has been one of the closest and emotionally charged rivalries of the past decade.
St. Francis took the first encounter, 35-32 on Wednesday as Jack Hurley tossed in 10 points. In Saturday's championship,
In the final game, St. Francis took a 7- 4 lead after the first quarter. The defensive intensity was high and the teams shadowed each other the rest of the way.
Charlie Marquardt led the decisive push for St. Francis with 13 points in the fourth quarter before an unfortunate incident ended the game prematurely with less than 30 seconds remaining and St. Francis was victorious, 39-32. Jack Hurley was named MVP. All-Tournament went to Charlie Marquardt and Jimmy Wolfer. Ryan Mc- Dade received the Sportsmanship award.
The Intermediate championship completed the day and the tournament. Our Lady of the Angelus had lost to St. Thomas More in overtime earlier in the tournament.
Then St. Thomas went on to beat St. Francis, 33-29 in the Winner's bracket final as Kyle Schreiner scored 13 points for St. Thomas and Chris Tsatsis added 16 points for St. Francis. OLA then beat OLG, as OLA went on to face St. Francis on Friday night.
After Chris Tsatsis put St. Francis in the lead with a four-point play, OLA made a comeback. They won the game with two free throws after a foul that was called at the buzzer on St. Francis.
Its status as 'The Game of the Tournament' lasted less than 24 hours. In the final, St. Thomas took a 14-11 lead at the end of the first quarter. But the burden of playing with only five players caught up to St. Thomas. OLA seized control during the two middle quarters and cruised to a 56-43 victory and the championship.
Damien Jackson scored 14 points and was named MVP. Anthony Reyes had 19 for St. Thomas and was named Outstanding Player. John Cortese and Kyle Schreiner received All-Tournament and Sean Fitzpatrick received the Sportsmanship award.
For St. Francis, Chris Tsatsis and Danny Donahue were All-Tournament and Ian Clayman was named for Spotsmanship.
Also named to the All-Tournament team were Justin Esposito and Tom Cani of St. Virgilius. Michael Henglein received the Sportsmanship award for St. Virgilius.
The Christmas Tournament once again showed why it is one of the most highly anticipated events of the holiday season with great games in a great atmosphere.
Tournament Directors Marty Andresen and Keith Andresen are to be commended for an outstanding job once again.
Marty and Keith would like to thank pastor Msgr. John Brown, CYO moderator Fr. Lou, along with the Tournament Committee- Jim McKeon, Keith Goldberg, John Duggan, John Boyle, Jack Bender, Tom Laczynski, Jim Morley, Paul Evans, Tom Boggiano and Tommy Morgan.
The organizers would also like to thank the Kitchen Crew under the direction of John Blum; the Door Committee under the direction of the CYO Basketball team reps; The Graybeards for staffing the scorer's table; the Cheerleaders led by Lorraine Agoglia and Betsy Kuhlmann, and Shelly Plock and Ralph Wallace for the programs.
Happy New Year to all and we'll see you next December for the 24th Annual St. Francis Christmas Tournament.