Season Preview: St. Ed’s Basketball, by: – Jack Loesch ‘19

High expectations await the St. Edward Basketball team this season, as they hope to make it to Columbus again. However, this time they are looking for a different result – a state championship. The Eagles have brought back several key players from last year, including sophomores Grant Huffman, Montorie Foster, and Tae Tae Blanton, junior Meechie Terry, and seniors Emmett Chambers, PJ Flannery, Elliott Tirbaso, and Will Henry. Also returning from last year are seniors Mike Dowell, Rich White, and Pat Daugherty, who did not get much action last year, but are expected to make a positive impact this year. New to the varsity team are juniors Josh Ogle, Mark Gaertner, Spencer Crane, and Josiah Knight. The seniors and returning starters are going to have to fill the leadership positions that we vacated by Tommy Schmock, Jack Sullivan, and Kelvin Calhoun, all of whom have graduated. Luckily, St. Ed’s young lineup last year should prove to be beneficial this season, as the players have plenty of experience from last season’s postseason run. The Eagle players have worked hard in the offseason and hope to play even better basketball this year.

The Eagles have another tough schedule this year that gets progressively more challenging throughout the season. In December, the Eagles will open up against Lakewood, followed by Beachwood, Cornerstone Christian Academy, Padua, John Marshall, and Brush. Although these opponents may not be as challenging as the other teams the Eagles will play, they could will quite possibly put up a good fight, so the Eagles will have to play some good basketball. Following the opening December games, the Eagles will fly to San Diego for the Torrey Pines Holiday Classic Tournament over Christmas Break. There, they will play in the most competitive level of the tournament where the Eagles will play teams from all over the nation. Once the Eagles return from San Diego, they will kick off January with a weekend triple header (on January 5th, 6th, and 7th) against St. Vincent St. Mary on Friday, Benedictine on Saturday, and Shaker Heights on Sunday. The next week, the Eagles will take on Toledo St. John, a very talented team that beat the Eagles by a lot last year. Following that week, St. Ed’s Basketball will travel to W 30th St. to take on the St. Ignatius Wildcats. The Eagles are especially motivated to win this game after last year’s game against the Wildcats who beat St. Ed’s in OT after a miracle half court bank shot to force it. Throughout the remainder of the season, St. Ed’s will take on VASJ, Cleveland Heights, Lutheran East, St. Ignatius (at home), Cleveland Central Catholic, Solon, and then finish with John Hay. Cleveland Central Catholic, St, Ignatius, and Solon should be the most notable of those games.

Hopefully, the Eagles can get the job done at the beginning of the season, and go undefeated before they head to the Torrey Pines Holiday Classic. In San Diego, the competition is much more challenging. But with the experience and players St. Ed’s varsity basketball has this year, the Eagles should be able to go on a good run in the tournament, especially after the third place that they got last year. Ideally, the Eagles should return back to Lakewood with a trophy, whether that be first, second, or third place. In January, the Eagles will have a tough task ahead of them, especially with St. Vincent St. Mary and Toledo St. John. Also, the two games against St. Ignatius should be interesting, as the Wildcats prevailed in the two very close regular season games last season. The Eagles hopefully will win the majority of these January games, and then finish strong in February. I would expect the St. Ed’s to finish the regular season with no more than four or five losses, so that they would be in good playoff position. In the playoffs, hopefully the Eagles can reach Columbus again. But this won’t happen without trouble from teams like Garfield Heights and Toledo St. John. It would be very exciting to see St. Ed’s basketball progress throughout the season and eventually head to the state championship. The St. Ed’s basketball community is all really hoping that the Eagles can get another banner after only one from three final four appearances in the last four years. I also certainly hope that will be the case. Go Eagles and the best of luck this season!