The Cardinal O’Hara girls and McKinley boys looked like they picked up right where they left off from last season.
So did the St. Mary’s boys, despite a much different-looking team.
All three teams won Thursday during the final night of the Pastor-Cooper Showcase at Daemen College.
The O’Hara girls, which return several key members of the team which advanced to the state Federation Tournament last year, cruised to a 76-34 win over Grand Island.
The St. Mary’s boys, which returned no starters from a team that advanced to the school’s first Manhattan Cup championship last season, used a tremendous fourth quarter to beat East, 55-42.
In the final game of the tournament, McKinley looked its usual self as it played pressure defense and grinded down Bishop Timon-St. Jude in a 68-51 victory.
St. Mary’s continued a strong start to this season as the Lancers improved to 3-0 under new coach Paul Rath and senior leader Paul Rath Jr. Rath Jr. had 21 points and three three-pointers and was a key part of St. Mary’s late run as it claimed the game with a 22-4 fourth quarter.
“The start of the season has been really good playing for my dad, like I have been basically my whole life,” said Rath Jr. “We just dug deep with our defense and converted it into baskets, which we didn’t do in the first half. The better defense we played, the more buckets came.”
Junior guard Johnathon Lewis had 23 points for East, helping the Panthers to leads of 31-24 at halftime and 38-33 after three quarters.
The big fourth for St. Mary’s included a major momentum swing with about five minutes left.
After Rath’s nice finish in transition, junior forward Tyler English quickly stole the inbounds pass and put the ball in to cut the East lead to 40-39 with 5:10 left. That was quickly followed by senior guard Quinn Gill (10 points) making a steal at midcourt, which led to him going in for a layup that he finished while being fouled. Gill and St. Mary’s were fired up after the play, and he hit the free throw to give St. Mary’s a 42-40 lead with 5:03 left.
Later, junior Latrell Tyson (11 points) hit a three-pointer after Rath kicked the ball out following a strong drive to the left side. That prompted an East timeout with 1:49 left and St. Mary’s up by 10 (52-42).
McKinley, which won the Section VI Class A-1 title last season, had a 29-22 lead at halftime that it steadily increased. It had a 48-36 lead after three quarters. Senior Reyzon Jordan had 16 points to lead four double-figure scorers.
“We looked a little sloppy, I wished that we would have played a better game,” said McKinley coach Zaire Dorsey.” I think we got better as the game went on.”
Junior Dante Williams had 22 points for Timon, which played its first game under new coach – and Tiger alum – Joe Mihalics.
The Cardinal O’Hara girls, who advanced to the Class B state Federation Tournament last year as the Catholic state champions, used a huge quarter of its own to beat Grand Island. The Hawks owned the second quarter, 24-2, in the season opener for both teams.
O’Hara displayed the same quickness, size, defense, team play and balanced scoring (four double-figure scorers) it did last year.
The Hawks caused turnovers, especially during the second half, to get out in the open floor. Senior guard Kayla Brown (17 points, game MVP), junior guard Keyonte Edwards (12) and senior guard Leah McDonnell (19 points, three threes) were part of some excellent defensive pressure and finishing in the open court. Forwards Kelsey McCarthy (14) and fellow junior Sara DiPasquale (six points), both juniors, were part of some pretty interior passing while providing good post defense on Grand Island standout Cassie Oursler (18 points).
“It’s an experienced group now,” said O’Hara coach Dan McDermott. “That’s what we were hoping for a starting point, and hopefully we can build off it.”
Each evening of the tournament, a moment of silence was observed in the memory of longtime showcase director David Cooper, who died in August at the age of 43 due to a heart attack.