• All

U-D defeats St. Mary’s, 58-44, to capture third consecutive Catholic A-B Division title

By: Branden Hunter, March 1, 2015, 8:00 pm

Detroit – Cassius Winston has played at U-D Jesuit for three season and each year his team has captured the Catholic League A-B Division basketball title.

Statistically it wasn’t his best game, but he did just enough as the Cubs defeated Orchard Lake St. Mary’s for the second straight year, 58-44, at Calihan Hall on Sunday.

Ever since the junior guard first suited up for the Cubs back in 2012, he was expected to be a winner. He has lived up to the hype, and much more.

"That was the plan," Winston said on winning three league titles. "The goal was to come into high school and win four Catholic League championships straight, so I have one more to get."

A fourth straight title isn’t out of the question for next season. With Winston returning, he’ll have the supporting cast to make it back to Calihan next year.

Winston only scored 12 points, but had 10 assists as he looked for his teammates to be involved in the action.

Greg Eboigbodin and Matt Schearer each added 10 points, and the Collins’ bothers, Gary and Elijah, teamed for 15.

Winston had but two points at halftime but it mattered little to him.

"That’s fine with me," he said. "As long as everybody is happy, and we have lead, it’s fine.

"We lacked on defense, but our offense was moving pretty good, so that’s OK with me."

U-D held an eight-point lead at the half. Winston said his coaches weren’t happy with the team’s performance, and as the leader of the team, he took most of the blame.

"He’s such a good player, and we will get after him," U-D coach Pat Donnelly said. "He’s the leader out there on the floor, and we hold him accountable, and he holds the other people accountable.

"I don’t have to do it very often, but every once in a while, every guy needs a little nudge from his coach to make sure he’s concentrating and we are playing to our best ability."

The Cubs might not have gotten the message immediately. St. Mary’s kept it close (40-31) after three quarters but the Cubs responded well in the fourth.

A 9-2 U-D run to open the fourth, capped off by a dazzling lay-up by Winston, put the game out of reach at 49-33 with under five minutes left.

U-D didn’t allow St. Mary’s to make any runs and the Eaglets’ top scorers were held in check.

"That’s something we’ve been doing all year, and that’s coming out a little too complacent in the first half defensively," Donnelly said. "We talked about that during halftime, and we needed more energy, and more concentration on the defensive end.

"I was a little disappointed in our first half effort, but I think we were much better in the second half defensively. When we play great defense, it creates scoring opportunities in transition, and that’s when we are at our best."

They’ll need their best again on Saturday when the Operation Friendship games return to Calihan after a three-year hiatus. U-D (17-2) will play top-ranked Detroit Western (18-0), a game which will be highly anticipated.

But try telling Winston that.

"It’s going to be just another game to us," he said. "We are going to come out and play our game."