MILWAUKEE — The boys’ and girls’ Padre Serra championship games didn’t disappoint the packed house at Mount Mary College for the 54th annual tournament.
For the boys, it was a match-up of the two best teams going into the tournament, the St. Catherine Angels from Racine and St. Dominic Knights from Brookfield.
The play of Kaj Days, St. Catherine, had been a tournament highlight reel with dominating performances and exciting dunks. But St. Dominic showed great team play and by the end of the first quarter held a 10-6 lead.
Days began the second quarter with a steal that led to a dunk, but at the end of the half the Knights were ahead, 21-15.
The Angels started the half with tremendous energy and outscored the Knights 14-5 in the third quarter, but the Knights’ tandem of Dominic Cartier and Ryan Clarey proved to be too much. Cartier had six of his 13 points in the fourth quarter. Clarey had only eight points to begin the quarter, but hit a clutch jump-shot with under a minute remaining and was perfect from the free throw line going 4-4. He ended the game with a team-high 14 points.
With the Knights up 41-38, the Angels had two opportunities during the final 30 seconds to tie the game, but missed both three-point attempts.
Days had a game-high 15 points.
Clarey was named tournament MVP. Days, Clarey and Chase Stulo of St. Catherine were named to the all-tournament team.
“We knew we were really in for a dogfight; we knew that we had a chance,” St. Dominic coach Quentin Cartier said. “The kids played so hard and practiced so hard all year. You don’t get to a game like this, much less win it, without putting a lot of dues in.”
Cartier said keeping his team intense and preventing them from being intimidated is what won the game.
“They had a couple blocks that went into the back 40 (rows) in the first half and we just said, ‘Hey, it’s our ball,’” Cartier said. “It’s our ball when that happens. Kaj Days dunks, it’s only two points.”
In the third place game, Waukesha Catholic defeated St. Eugene, Fox Point, 58-47.
For the girls, it was a rematch between St. Alphonsus, Greendale and St. Matthias, Milwaukee, both of the Parkview Parochial League. Earlier in the year the Bulldogs from St. Matthias beat the Cougars.
In the first half it was St. Matthias on top,14-10, with Mary Szymborski leading all scorers with 10 points.
But the Cougars defense smothered the Bulldogs, allowing only two points the entire second half. St. Alphonsus was led by Carly Graverson and Katie Gardner, each with10 points.
St. Alphonsus won 31-16. Graverson was tournament MVP. Gardner, Szymborski and Katie Matel were named to the all-tournament team.
“It’s wonderful. A lot of hard work throughout the year, putting this team together; they worked hard,” St. Alphonsus coach Greg Robb said with strained vocal cords. “It makes it easier on me when you have players.”
Robb said his team had clear goals of winning since the beginning of the season.
“With the girls, we wanted to win our league, then get a first seed in the tournament, get to the tournament, get to the final four and win it,” Robb said. It was his second time coaching in the Padre Serra tournament, first time winning it.
The St. Dominic, Brookfield, defeated Our Lady of Grace, Racine, 42-28, to finish third.
Bob Roloff, selection committee member, said he was happy the games were close.
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“It was much better than having someone win by 10 or 12 and both teams played hard,” Roloff said of the boys championship game. “They played at a different level than all the other games that we’ve been watching here.”
On the girls’ side, Roloff said St. Alphonsus stepped it up.
“They outscored St. Matthias 21-2 in the second half,” Roloff said. “That’s unbelievable, really.”
Roloff said these games will be with the players and spectators for years to come.
“I’m sure people will look back and remember this (boys’) game and remember St. Alphonsus’ second half,” Roloff said. “We have great (tournaments) year after great year and you can think back and remember other tournaments because of the great play and it’s the same thing with this one.”