Published Date Written by David Amerman
The Seven Sorrows boys’ basketball team won the Harrisburg CYO Diocesan championship, beating St. Theresa’s in the title game on Sunday, March 9 to claim its first league crown since 1970.
It was the second league championship in team history.
The Eagles now will play Sacred Heart of Allentown in the state CYO Diocesan playoffs at 4 p.m. on Friday, March 28 in Philadelphia.
Seven Sorrows were regular-season champions, league playoff champions and Bishop Daley tournament runner-up this season. The Eagles will take a 29-3 record into the state playoffs.
The Eagles only lost twice during the regular season – a 1-point loss in overtime at St. Theresa’s and a 2-point loss at Good Shepherd.
They moved onto the league playoffs, where they defeated St. Joseph from Mechanicsburg and St. Catherine’s in the semifinals. In the title game, the Eagles came back from 12 points down with 2:00 left in the third quarter to defeat St. Theresa’s by 7.
Next up for the Eagles was the Bishop Daley tournament where, after two victories, they found themselves in the championship game. They faced a very good St. Catherine’s team, which they played for the fourth time this season and ninth over the last two years. The Royals defeated the Eagles for the title. It was the first appearance in the finals in five years for the Eagles.
With the loss, and facing some adversity – the Eagles were missing one of their starters for the first three games of the two-week Diocesan tournament – Seven Sorrows defeated St. Joan of Arc, 62-26.
Next, the Eagles beat St. Margaret Mary, coming alive in the second half to win 51-32 to clinch a spot in the Final Four against St. Catherine’s.
The Eagles found themselves down against St. Catherine’s, 29-19 with a little over a minute to go in the third quarter. After back-to-back 3-point baskets, Seven Sorrows climbed back into the game, trailing 29-25 going into the fourth quarter.
The Eagles found a way to keep the game close, and tied the game with 5 seconds left in regulation to force overtime.
Seven Sorrows lost a starter because of foul trouble in overtime, but still went back-and-forth with the Royals. With 1.6 seconds left, the Eagles hit a jumper from the wing to beat St. Catherine’s, setting off a March Madness type celebration and putting them into the title game.
Playing their third game in three days, the Eagles got their full lineup back and were ready to take on St. Theresa’s. The game went back and forth, mainly because the Eagles shot poorly in the first half. In the second half, Seven Sorrows again found itself without a starter because of foul trouble. But the Eagles hit back-to-back 3-point shots and ran down the clock while holding the lead.
With 6 seconds, Seven Sorrows sank two free throws to take a 3-point lead. A desperation 3-point shot by St. Theresa’s came up short and the Eagles found themselves Diocesan Champions for the first time in 43 years.
Members of the teams are eighth-graders Ryan Hughes, Brady Fox, Adam Peiffer, Jerrod Myers, Blake Jacoby, Caleb Cannon, Mario Corradi, Elliot Demko and Brendan Douglass; and seventh-graders Joey Gusler, Tyler Petroski, Anthony Lavia and Casey Aurebeck. The coaches are Jim Young, Kris Myers, Chris Hughes and John Huggins.
This same group of players won the Harrisburg CYO Diocesan junior varsity title three years ago and several tournament titles. Now they finish their CYO careers winning three out of four major titles awarded by the league.
Team members currently are raising money to cover their expenses in the state championships.
What began as a dream for them as fifth-graders came true.