By David Kilby | Correspondent
The 2014 Msgr. Leonard R. Toomey Diocesan Tournament of Champions came to a climax March 9 with the championship games of girls’ and boys’ junior varsity and varsity finalist teams from the Diocese’s four counties of Burlington, Mercer, Monmouth and Ocean.
This year’s tournament featured 32 teams, two that qualified from their respective counties for each of their four divisions: Girls JV, Girls Varsity, Boys JV and Boys Varsity.
To see photo highlights of the CYO Boys Varsity Championship, click here.
To see photo highlights of the CYO Girls Varsity Championship, click here.
To see photo highlights ofthe CYO Boys Junior Varsity Championship, click here.
To see photo highlights ofthe CYO Girls Junior Varsity Championship, click here.
To see related story and photos, click here.
The single-elimination tournament started March 3 with games being played at various locations through the Diocese, leading up to the championship games March 9 in the Mercer County CYO on Broad Street in Trenton.
The girls’ varsity championship game between the Trenton Catholic Academy Iron Mikes, Hamilton, and the St. Catharine School Lakers, Spring Lake, saw the Lakers start out strong with a 16-0 lead by the second quarter, but then the Iron Mikes started marching back. With a 27-9 lead at the half, the Lakers managed to keep their 16-point cushion.
By the fourth quarter, the Lakers jumped ahead a little further with 39 points, as the Iron Mikes trailed with 18 points of their own. In that final period, the teams matched each other’s scores with 10 points each. The Lakers took the championship trophy with a 28-49 win. Top scorer for the Lakers was Faith Masonius, with 17 points.
Ellen Masonius, coach of the Lakers, said the team has a lot of great individual players. “When they all work together they’re very successful. When they play together anything can happen. In all their seasons they work very hard individually.” She said the team is going to compete in the Run for the Roses tournament hosted by St. Rose High School, Belmar, on March 10, 12 and 17.
Dwayne King, coach of the Iron Mikes, said his team fought hard against an excellent team and an excellent coach. “They gave all they could,” he said of his team.
In the boys varsity championship game between the Our Lady of Good Counsel School Chargers, Moorestown, and the St. Leo the Great School Lions, Lincroft, the teams were neck and neck through the first quarter, tied at 15 points apiece. By the half, the score was OLGC 28, St. Leo 27.
Early in the third quarter, OLGC scored 9 unanswered points. For the rest of the game they steadily extended their lead as St. Leo struggled to keep up, and in the end OLGC won the championship game with a score of 57-41. OLGC’s top scorer was Jake Topoloski, with 22 points.
Brian Laux, head coach of the Lions, said his team played hard throughout the entire game. “We played team offense and team defense. We got beat by a team that outplayed us today. There’s no shame in that,” he said.
Greg Sobocinski, coach of the OLGC Chargers, said his players put in place all of the things they learned over the year. “We just played together real well, particularly on the defensive side. Our team has really grown defensively. We learned to run the floor real well. We play good defense, then get the ball and we run. That was our game.” Sobocinski noted this is the first CYO championship win for OLGC.
In the earlier games, St. Leo the Great won the boys JV championship against St. Mary, Bordentown, with a score of 51-40. Kevin Bauman was St. Leo’s top scorer with 22 points.
St. Gregory the Great School, Hamilton Square, won the girls JV championship against St. Catharine, Spring Lake, by a score of 25-20, with Nicole Rende leading the St. Gregory the Great team with seven points.
The annual tournament, reinstituted in 2008 after a nearly 30-year hiatus, was renamed to honor the late Msgr. Leonard R. Toomey, the founder of the Mercer County CYO in 1952. Two years later, the priest spearheaded a corps of thousands of volunteers in renovating the current site of the tournament, once the RKO Broad Movie Theater on South Broad Street, Trenton.
Christina Leslie, correspondent, contributed to this story.