March 11, 2014 // Local

Teams battle for diocesan titles

By Joe Kozinski

MISHAWAKA — Old man Winter could not and would not cancel out the traditional rivalry between the top teams of Fort Wayne’s CYO and St. Joseph County’s Inter-City Catholic League as they matched up in the final contests of the year at Marian High School.

During the course of this season plagued by inclement weather, teams from both leagues fought for their prospective championships and added icing to the cake by representing their league for diocesan boasting rights.

The first contest was a consolation matchup between the visiting Eagles of St. John the Baptist of Fort Wayne and coincidentally the Eagles of South Bend St. Joseph.

The game couldn’t have been any closer as both squads fought tooth and nail. St. John’s dynamic duo of Carston Fritz and Tyreeon Hambright both contributed double-digit scoring, but the big man in the middle from St. Joseph, Josh De St. Jean’s 20 points were too much to overcome as the host Eagles drew first blood of the day holding on to win a 38-36 squeaker.

The perennial powerhouse, the Squires of St. Joseph-Hessen Cassel, wanted to represent with pride and even the score as they squared off against Christ the King in the second contest of the afternoon.

It seemed that the Squires always punch a ticket west for the ICCL-CYO Invitational and this year would be no exception as they came ready to play and matched up with the Kings who had been peaking at just the right time.

The Kings tied and retied the game behind their scoring leader Michael Dunkelberger until premiere players Dashan Bussel and Abram Beard of the Squires, who scored 21 and 18 points respectively, finished them off, 49-41.

That would leave the two big dogs from each league to settle the score in the traditional matchups.

The Panthers from St. Vincent would represent the CYO and the mighty Lions of St. Pius X the ICCL in the battle of champions.

The Panthers started the scoring early and the Lions counter punched their way back in the game to hold a 14-13 lead after one.

Again the game went back and forth, both teams matching the other’s intensity and resolve leaving a slight two-point margin at the half for the host Lions.

Both teams raced to their perspective locker rooms optimistic that the season would end with the grand prize of the diocesan championship in their grasp.

The answer to the $64 thousand question would be in the form of one player — Walter Ellis — as the lengthy eighth grader sliced, diced, dished, rebounded and scored as the Lions blew out the game and went on a 16-4 run in the third quarter.

As Ellis lead all scorers with 13, he also lead both teams in assists and rebounds as the Lions coasted home with a 53-42 championship.

The efforts of Isaac Kino’s 10 points, and Mitchell Campbell’s nine points paced the Eastern Champion Panthers during the hotly-contested game. The Lions’ Michael Godfrey and Reese Jackowiak aided St. Pius X on the scoreboard as they tallied 11 and nine respectively.

* * *

The best news. Delivered to your inbox.

Subscribe to our mailing list today.