Gesu 8th grade boys basketball repeats as CYO city champions

Front Row (left to right): Sam Danford, Lenny Soeder, Zach Johnson, Johnny Kirincic and Coach Brian McLaughlin. Back Row (left to right): Coach Anthony Colangelo, Cameron Callahan, Tommy Murphy, Owen Reynolds, Kris Oliver and Coach Chris Salata

On March 6, Gesu School’s 8th grade boys' varsity basketball team defeated Holy Trinity (Avon), 29-27, in an overtime thriller at John Carroll University to claim the program’s second consecutive CYO City Championship.

The home-team Bulldogs jumped out to an 8-2 lead in the first quarter behind the aggressive scoring of Sam Danford (14 points, 5 rebounds). The visiting Eagles battled back to cut the deficit to 10-9 at the half. Holy Trinity scored the first 6 points of the second half to take a 15-10 lead, but Gesu answered with an 8-point run, ignited by the inside play of Cameron Callahan (6 points, 8 rebounds) and Owen Reynolds (5 points, 8 rebounds), to take an 18-15 lead in the 4th quarter.

The lead would not last as Holy Trinity was able to go ahead by two points on a nifty baseline out-of-bounds play with 27 seconds left. Out of time-outs and with their season on the line, the Bulldogs once again turned to Danford, who fearlessly attacked the basket and scored on an acrobatic reverse lay-up with nine seconds left to force overtime. Gesu was able to score the first four points of the extra session and survive a last-second shot from the Eagles that rolled off the rim.

Team members include Zach Johnson, Tommy Murphy, Kris Oliver, Johnny Kirincic, Lenny Soeder, Danford, Callahan and Reynolds. The team is coached by Chris Salata, Brian McLaughlin and Anthony Colangelo.

The victory is Gesu’s fifth Diocesan Championship in the last nine seasons, during which time the Bulldogs have appeared in the CYO Final Four a remarkable seven times and posted an overall record of 181-31 (0.853).

Chris Salata

Chris Salata is the coach of the Gesu Bulldogs.

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Volume 4, Issue 4, Posted 4:07 PM, 04.04.2011