The Brooklyn/Queens Catholic high schools that entered the 30th annual Brother Arnold Basketball Tournament fell at the hands of a few tough Long Island CHSAA teams. The tournament, held at Msgr. McClancy M.H.S., East Elmhurst, ran from Dec. 9 to 11.
Bishop Kellenberg H.S., Uniondale, won its first-ever Brother Arnold Tournament with a 68-61 championship victory over St. Dominic’s H.S., Oyster Bay. Kellenberg senior guard Kevin Bowles led all scorers with 25 pts., and junior guard and tournament M.V.P. Jeremy Arthur finished with 13 pts.
The tournament is an annual preseason Catholic high school varsity basketball tradition. This year’s field was made up of McClancy; St. Dominic’s; Kellenberg; Salesian H.S., New Rochelle; Blessed Sacrament H.S., New Rochelle; St. John the Baptist H.S., West Islip; Cathedral Prep, Elmhurst; and St. John’s Prep, Astoria.
It honors the memory of Brother Arnold Bakutis, S.C., a former athletic director and physical education chairman as well as a teacher at McClancy. Brother Arnold died of a heart attack while jogging in 1980 at the age of 55. McClancy Head Coach Don Kent started the tournament 30 years ago.
The opening game featured St. John’s Prep against the eventual champion. Both teams came out shooting well from the field, and the game was tight heading into the second half. But Kellenberg began pulling away en route to an 84-53 victory.
Junior guard Jeremy Arthur led the Firebirds with 24 pts., while junior center Bryan Gellineau scored 16 pts. St. John’s sophomore guard Marlon Alcindor led the Red Storm with 24 pts.
“What I love about them is that they go all out,” said St. John’s Head Coach Ron Leone. “Even if they’re down 20, they’re still playing hard defense on the ball and trying to score. That type of attitude… you don’t coach that. They have a lot of potential.”
St. John the Baptist and St. Dominic’s each earned decisive wins in their afternoon contests.
The first day concluded with a 63-37 McClancy win over Cathedral Prep in front of packed home gym. In a battle of “Crusaders,” both teams got off to a slow start offensively. McClancy, however, picked it up led by strong outside shooting from senior guards Brian Berrios and Chris Santiago-Ramos.
Santiago-Ramos was unstoppable in the second half and threw down a monstrous dunk. Both he and Berrios scored 18 pt. Defensively, junior forward Austin John Huggins contributed with four blocks.
“Every single time we’d come back in the huddle, I would just reinforce defense, defense, defense,” said Santiago-Ramos. “The offense will come, but defense is our main priority.”
Day two saw St. John’s Prep earn its first victory of the tournament, 68-41 over Blessed Sacrament. Alcindor hit for 17 pts., while senior guards Kenny Dolberry, Chris McNeil and Carlos Mayorga each scored 10 pts.
Salesian and Kellenberg won their games, which placed the Firebirds in the championship. Bowles scored a game-high 27 pts., and Arthur netted 19.
In a tight battle the whole way, St. Dom’s earned a semi-final win, 56-50, over host McClancy, sending the Bayhawks to the title game.
The final day of the tournament began with a 59-48 Blessed Sacrament win over Cathedral Prep and Salesian winning over St. John’s Prep, 64-51. Alcindor had another strong game for Prep, recording a double-double with 28 pts. and 12 rebounds.
“I rebounded and scored, and I tried to get my teammates involved,” said Alcindor.
“I believe Marlon, when he’s a senior, will go Division I,” said Leone. “He’s good at everything. As he matures, he’ll be almost like a mini Kevin Durant (NBA power forward for the Oklahoma City Thunder).”
Before Kellenberg defeated St. Dom’s on day three, McClancy capped off a come-from-behind 74-63 game against St. John the Baptist to claim third place in the tournament. These two teams met in last year’s Brother Arnold Tournament championship, with the Cougars emerging victorious.
Berrios had a breakout performance, scoring a career-high 26 pts. for McClancy. He served as the quarterback on the court both offensively and defensively.
“Our coach (Kent) always tells us to slow down the ball and keep our patience,” Berrios said. “Every time he tells us that, we slow down, do our plays, and we score.”
Santiago-Ramos scored 16 pts., while Huggins dropped in 13 of his own. Cougars senior guard Timothy Rowland Jr. led his team with 17 pts.
“It (the third place finish) makes us want to fight even harder to become a better team and beat the better teams in our division,” said Huggins.
“It was an overall good team effort,” said Kent. “We were disappointed that we didn’t win our own tournament, but we can hold our heads up that we won two out of three games.”
For his efforts, Berrios was named to the All-Tournament team along with guards Darren Chew and Travis Dickerson from St. Dominic’s and guards Kevin Bowles and Robert Gomiela from Kellenberg.
A Title for Howard Beach
The Our Lady of Grace Blue Knights midget boys’ soccer team of Howard Beach, coached by Frank Destefano and Jon Rosen, won the fall 2011 Diocesan CYO soccer championship. The boys defeated St. Anastasia of Douglaston, 2-1, in the championship match. The following players made the dream come true: Steven Priolo, Anthony Napolitano, Frank Destefano, Dominic Antonino, Matteo Souza, Neil Tangal, Neeraj Tangal, Christopher Quejo, Joseph Detoma, Saleel Eldin, Jordan Rosen, Joseph Nardo, Aidan McNally and Tatiana Ramirez. Dr. Jerry Antonino is the program director.