Three-Peat. U of D Jesuit Earns CHSL Crown 58-44 Against St. Mary’s

1 Mar

3L9A9085“The more things change, the more they say the same.”

University of Detroit Jesuit replaced four starters from a season ago.  The one man that remained, junior point guard Cassius Winston, simply owns the Catholic League.  In his three years of high school, Winston has won three straight Catholic League regular season and tournament crowns.  Cassius and the word victory are often inalterable when discussing U of D.

“He’s a good player,” Jesuit head coach Pat Donnelly said of Winston.  “He’s a leader out there on the floor, and we hold him accountable, and in turn he holds other people accountable.”

St. Mary’s strategy was to force someone not named Winston beat them for the third time on the year.  And it worked, up to a point.  The Eaglets held Winston to a meager two points in the opening half on just 1-5 from the floor.

Winston knew he needed to impact the game in other aspects if U of D was to win their third consecutive A-B Division Championship.  Six of his team-high ten assists occurred in the first half, Jesuit led 25-17 at intermission.

“That’s fine with me,” Winston said of his distributing role.  “As long as everyone’s happy.”

St. Mary’s would stick around, however.  Keeping the deficit around 7-10 points throughout the third quarter.  The Eaglets decided to use a smaller lineup against a vertically-gifted Cub front-line, and able to cut the lead to seven twice aided by seven uncharacteristic U of D third quarter turnovers.

“They went to a smaller lineup, they we’re beating us off the dribble,” Donnelly added.  “I just thought our match ups defensively with a smaller lineup we’re a little bit more in our favor.”

U of D then opened the floodgates in the fourth.  Slowly but surely, Jesuit built a double-digit, from 7-0 the first two minutes, then a 11-5 spurt three minutes after to comfortably distance themselves from the Eaglets and hold a lead at one point by 24 points.

“We pride ourselves to make those spurts,” said Winston.  “I guess sometimes we save them up sometimes for late.”  “We came out in the first half lackadaisical, and second half they (coaches) got into us a little bit.”

The entire U of D season, Winston has been the leader for the Cubs.  In games against the state’s elite, Cassius has provided twenty and even thirty point performances.  The CHSL title, not so much.  Aside from Winston, three fellow Cubs scored double figures, senior guard Gary Collins, junior forward Matt Schearer, and sophomore forward Greg Eboigboden all contributed 10 points to the victory.  Cassius ended the day with 12 points, 10 assists, and seven rebounds.

The supporting cast the Cubs will need to return to the Breslin Center in late March.

Next on the schedule for U of D is Operation Friendship, a date with the PSL champs, Detroit Western, undefeated and ranked number one in the state Saturday at Calihan Hall.  There is a strong possibility the contest is a preview for a later matchup in the Class A semi-finals.  But for Winston’s, he takes it as just another game.

“It’s going to be another game, we’re going to play our game.”

(Photo Courtesy of Paul Snyder)

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