Catholic League makes statement over the holidays

SHARE Catholic League makes statement over the holidays

By Joe Henricksen

While the oohs and aahs of the holiday season were over the fantastic overtime games at Proviso West (H-F over

Marshall in the semis and Whitney Young over H-F in the final) and the remarkable show Warren’s Brandon Paul

and Oak Park’s Iman Shumpert put on in their overtime semifinal battle at Pontiac, the Chicago Catholic League

quietly made a statement of its own over the holidays. The Catholic League produced four tournament winners

overall, with its top five teams going a combined 19-1 in five separate tournaments.

The headliner in the Catholic League was the suddendly recharged Hales Franciscan team. Just maybe that brutal

early-season schedule is beginning to pay dividends. Hales was awfully impressive in going 4-0 at the Big Dipper

Tournament at Rich South, which included convincing wins over marquee teams in Chicago Public League threat

Lincoln Park and south suburban power Bloom. Hales beat the two teams by a combined 33 points.

Loyola Academy won the Wheeling Hardwood Classic in convincing fashion, Mount Carmel went down to Pekin

and brought home a tournament title, and St. Ignatius, which knocked out Catholic League foe Brother Rice earlier in

tournament play, handed Lyons Twp. its only loss of the season and rolled past Conant in the final. DeLaSalle had a

solid four days in Bloomington-Normal, losing in the State Farm Classic final to Rockton-Hononegah with freshman

Mike Shaw sitting out the game with a sore ankle.

Overall, no other conference can match the success the Chicago Catholic League had in late December. This

should make for quite an entertaining two months of basketball in the Chicago Catholic League. And no one can

forget talented Fenwick, which went 1-2 at Proviso West but is capable of playing with anyone in the state. While

the league may be missing a Top 10 team, one that is capable of winning a state title or that measures up to past

Brother Rice teams or the recent Loyola Academy teams, this is as deep as the Chicago Catholic League has been

in quite some time.

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