Holy Ghost Prep senior Joe Calvin, 24, right, defends Bishop McDevitt junior Da’Quane Williams (14) in Schott Tournament consolation matchup with the Royal Lancers Dec. 29 at Chapman Gym. (Steve Sherman – 21st-Century Media)
CORNWELL HEIGHTS – The night before, Holy Ghost Prep did not play a good game, defensively, in its Jack Schott Memorial Tournament opener against Philly Public League rival Abraham Lincoln and anyone who knows the team guided by head coach Tony Chapman is well aware that’s not going to happen two nights in a row.
In the consolation matchup, the Firebirds clamped down defensively on Philadelphia Catholic League (PCL) rival Bishop McDevitt (1-6) to claim third place in the tourney with a 35-19 victory Thursday night, Dec. 29 at Chapman Gym. The Railsplitters – who crushed Ghost 73-44 in the opener – toppled Suburban One National League rival Truman, 60-49, in the championship.
“We were really disappointed in our defense last night, giving up that many points against a really talented team in Lincoln,” said Chapman. “For us to be effective, we have to play good defense.”
Defense was certainly the key to the win over the Royal Lancers, who are guided by Yardley’s own Sean Ryan. The ‘birds limited McDevitt to single digits in every quarter and just nine points in the second half.
“We built the program around our defense,” added Chapman. “We’re not going to go out and score 55, 60, 70 points every game.
“Tonight, I was really pleased the whole game with the defense.”
While the flow of the holiday skirmish may have made the coach happy, it sure didn’t lead to a fast pace on the hardwood. The score read 2-0 more than 5:15 into the contest. HGP senior Joe Calvin hit the first field goal in the game on a putback basket with 2:30 remaining in the first quarter. And there was just a minute left in the first period when McDevitt rang up its first shot from the floor, a one-hander by BM junior Qian Boone.
Sporting a different look in the second period with Joe Calvin, senior Luke McDonald and 6-4 sophomore forward Greg Calvin in the lineup, the Ghost got off to a 6-3 run that was capped by junior Jack Eliiot’s putback.
The Lancers answered with a 5-0 run of their own, all on points by senior Quentin Beasley to go into the intermission behind by only a point, 11-10.
While McDevitt started the second half with three straight misses, Boone hit a layup to give the visitors the only lead they’d hold in the contest.
It was right around that time that the Firebirds’ offense came alive. Ghost finished the period with an 11-2 run.
Senior Mike McFadden got the scoring spurt started with his second layup in the game, classmate John McCrane added a pair of free throws and Elliot chipped in with a 3-pointer.
“Offensively, we seemed to relax in the second half,” added Chapman. “I thought we played a little uptight in the first half. We looked a little nervous – almost trying not to lose – just too cautious.”
The ‘birds received a big boost from Greg Calvin in the latter stages of the third period. After coming up with a steal off of Beasley, he hit a short jumper that put the Ghost on top 20-14 with 1:30 to go in the quarter.
The younger Calvin also came up with a steal in the closing seconds of the third quarter though Ghost could not cash in on the turnover when sophomore Greg Sylvester missed a desperate shot before the buzzer.
Elliot capped the third period scoring run with a one-handed shot in the paint that sent the ‘birds to the final frame with a 22-14 lead.
Ghost opened the fourth quarter with a 6-0 run, sparked by four points from McDonald. They expanded the lead to 30-15 on a bank shot by sophomore Ryan Staropoli with just 3:45 remaining in the contest.
The Firebirds finished the game with a 5-2 run, fueled by a pair of free throws by Joe Calvin and a 3-point play by McCrane. Big John, Joe Calvin and Elliot sparked the Ghost to its sixth win of the season – against two losses – with seven points, each.
“There were three teams in this tournament that are up and down teams; there’s one that’s not and that’s us,” said Chapman. “Tonight, we got (McDevitt) to play more the way we want to play. Last night, Lincoln got us to play the way they want to play.”
In the opener against the Railsplitters, the ‘birds turned the ball over 21 times. Chapman says that’s more turnovers than the team amassed in three previous games, combined.
“The speed of the game was tremendous and we haven’t seen that this year,” said Chapman of the loss to Lincoln. “It’s a great reference point for our kids and they’ll have that in their minds throughout the year.
“We are going to run into teams that are strong, big and really athletic. Next time, we have to pass the test.”
Making their way onto the All-Tournament team were Joe Calvin, for Holy Ghost and Beasley, for McDevitt. Truman senior Danell Snelling and classmate Z.J. Jackson were nominated for the Tigers and junior Jahi Randall made it for the Railsplitters. Lincoln senior Nassir Coleman – who registered 20 points in two wins, combined – was named the Tournament MVP.
NOTES: The tourney is named for Jack Schott, a volunteer at Holy Ghost who served as team scorekeeper from 1981 to 1997. Mr. Schott passed away suddenly in the summer of ’97 and the school’s annual holiday tournament was named in his memory in 1998. Next year will mark the 20th anniversary of that dedication to Jack Schott, who never missed a game in 16 seasons.
Holy Ghost Prep 35, Bishop McDevitt 19
(Dec. 29 at Holy Ghost Prep)
Bishop McDevitt (1-6) 2 8 4 5 – 19
Holy Ghost Prep (6-2) 5 6 11 13 – 35
BISHOP McDEVITT — Da’Quane Williams 2, Shamir Mosley 2, Cameron Gardner 3, Qian Boone 4, Quinten Beasley 8; TOTALS — 8 3-10—19.
HOLY GHOST — Ryan Staropoli 3, Mike McFadden 4, Luke McDonald 4, John McCrane 7, Jack Elliott 7, Greg Calvin 2, Joe Calvin 7, Aidan Bauer 1; TOTALS — 11 12-17—35.
3-POINT GOALS: BM — none; HGP — Elliot.