2009-10 CRC Tournament >> Results Press Coverage
By Kurt Stubbs
Cancer Research Classic
WHEELING, W.Va., Jan. 2, 2010 -- Cleveland St. Ignatius and St. Joseph’s Prep (Philadelphia) were involved in a fundamentals classic at the 3rd Annual Cancer Research Classic at the Alma Grace McDonough Center on the campus of Wheeling Jesuit University.
In a match up of two well-schooled outfits led by their respective coaches, Philadelphia legend William ‘Speedy’ Morris and Sean O’Toole of Ignatius it was one team that escaped with a narrow victory.
Doctor Gregory Merrick, the tournament director and founder, needs major kudos for his match up of these two fine and well-respected schools. The director couldn’t have paired together two teams so-different but so-equal.
Both teams featured gritty and tough defense with timely offensive scoring to give the fans a real treat from a terrific coaching clinic-type game.
St. Ignatius used a tough man-to-man defense with heavy ball pressure rarely giving the Hawks a clean look, while Prep seemed to fluster the Wildcats offense at times with their match-up zone defense.
On offense, Ignatius was able to get some drive-in baskets and several buckets from inside ace Shonn Miller (6’5/2011) to help its cause.
For St. Joe’s, another three-year participant in the CRC, it was some timely three-point shooting that kept the Hawks in the game along with Ignatius shooting a dismal (7-17) from the charity stripe.
In the first half, it was 6-foot-3 sophomore Gene Williams, 6-foot-2 junior Mike Fee, and 6-foot-2 freshman Steve Vasturia that knocked down shots with Cornell signee Joe Nardi coming out ice-cold.
The Wildcats were able to limit the Hawks to just 24% shooting in the first half en route to a 22-17 half time lead.
Though, the Hawks were able to storm back and take a 31-30 lead at the end of the third chapter thanks to the arrival of the streaky Nardi. The 6-foot-2 senior caught flame knocking down four triples including 18 points for the game. Nardi was 6-of-16 on the night, but the majority of the misses came in the first 16 minutes.
“They were knocking down shots,” said Wildcats junior Shonn Miller. “That was the best all-around shooting team we have played thus far. Nardi was lights out in the second half.”
With Nardi doing his thing, Miller was not going to be out-done. The junior was able to dominate the defensive boards limiting the Hawks to one-and-done most of the game, and also got his offensive game going.
“I have to be the rim protector for this team,” Miller mentioned. “On offense, I was not knocking any shots down from the outside so it was time to get in the paint. I was able to get in there and do some work, but I just want to do whatever the team needs to win.”
Miller certainly did some work scoring with several flashy post moves finishing above the rim several times with crowd-pleasing jams. The D-1 recruit was able to show a baby fall-away as well to add to his 14 points and 14 rebounds. He currently holds an offer from Akron.
Ignatius was able to get the slightest of breathing room in the fourth period opening up a four-point lead on a couple occasions thanks to Miller and senior guards Tommy Parker and Tyler Hammond. The Hawks were able to knock down a window-dressing three-point shot as time expired, but it wasn’t enough as the Wildcats remained unbeaten (6-0) with a 43-42 triumph.
“There match up zone bothered us a little bit, but we did not play very well at all,” Miller believes.
The stingy and well-schooled Ignatius defense held Prep to just 32% shooting from the field including 29% from behind the arc.
Parker and Hammond both make all the ‘winning’ plays, which is big reason for Ignatius success. Hammond scored just five points, but grabbed four boards, handed out eight assists, swiped four passes. Parker added five points, three caroms, three dimes, and three steals.
Williams backed up Nardi’s effort with 11 points with Vasturia adding six points on two triples.