U-D Jesuit cruises past De La Salle to win fourth straight CHSL title
(PHOTO CREDIT: David Donoher)
Detroit – When Detroit U-D Jesuit won the Catholic League A-B title four years ago, its first in 20 years, it was a sign of things to come for the Cubs, led by Cassius Winston who was a freshman at the time.
On Sunday afternoon, with the help of Winston, U-D won its fourth consecutive Catholic League title with a convincing 70-45 win over Warren De La Salle.
But now that Catholic League titles have become an expectation for the Cubs, Sunday’s win only has them expecting more with the MHSAA tournament beginning in one week.
U-D coach Pat Donnelly said that winning a Catholic League title was one of his team’s goals entering the season, and with that goal achieved, his team is ready to turn its attention to making a third straight trip to the Breslin Center.
“It’s one of our goals throughout the year,” he said. “We had goals to go undefeated through the Catholic League, we had goals to win a Catholic League Championship and now we have the goal to go one game at a time to get back to the Breslin and this time win a State Championship. Being able to finish the regular season like this gives a lot of confidence going into the state tournament. But we certainly will refocus and start concentrating on our upcoming games.”
U-D jumped out to an early 9-0 lead in the first quarter, behind seven points from Winston as the Cubs would hold a comfortable 19-9 lead heading into the second quarter.
“They told us in the locker room to come out and be aggressive,” Winston said. “I just took the opportunities that were available, there were a couple of good shots that I took and they went in and it brought intensity.’
Midway through the second quarter, the Cubs would take their largest lead of the game as Zachary Winston would burry a 3-pointer with an assist coming from his older brother, Cassius, helping put U-D in cruise control with a 30-14 lead.
Cassius Winston, celebrating his 18th birthday on Sunday, said that when he arrived at U-D, one of the first goals that he had was to win four Catholic League titles.
“When I first came to U-D, that was really the first goal that I wrote down, four Catholic League Championships,” he said.
U-D (19-0) is just the second team to ever win four straight league titles. The only other team to accomplish the feat was Detroit Catholic Central from 1948-1952.
The Cubs came out of halftime with a 38-20 lead and continued to keep the pressure on De La Salle throughout the second half. After De La Salle managed to trim the deficit back down towards 10, Winston found his younger brother, Zach, once again for a 3-pointer that would all but seal the win for the Cubs, giving U-D a 57-40 lead in the fourth quarter.
“It’s definitely a confidence boost,” Cassius Winston said of the win. “That’s actually a really good team, they have a great coach and great players, so we beat them handily by 20-25 points, so we’re ready to go and a state championship is our next goal.”
Cassius Winston finished with 17 points and 10 assists on the day, while Zach Winston would chip in with 12 points in the win.
With the win, U-D will now face the PSL Champion, East English Village Prep in the Operation Friendship Game on Thursday night at Wayne State University in a potential preview of a regional final in the state tournament.
“It’s great to be able to get that tune up before the state tournament,” Donnelly said of playing East English. “Our goal is the state tournament, it’s something that we’re really striving for. So that will be a great tune up for us going into the districts.”