Through the first month-plus of the season, Collin Lawlor has been a standout player for the Mt. Greenwood fourth-grade basketball team.
And as the Eagles showed over the holidays, they are making some big strides as a team.
Mt. Greenwood defeated host Christ the King (CK) 30-15 on Dec. 30 to win the championship of the 14th annual Tom Kleist Memorial Fourth-Grade Christmas Tournament.
“Collin’s a good player. Everyone is pitching in a little bit,” said Mt. Greenwood Coach Brian Healy. “Thanksgiving was the first time they all played together. Now, they’re used to playing together. When Collin drives, they can get to open spaces and try to get some better shots.”
Mt. Greenwood improved to 16-0 with the championship victory.
Lawlor led the Eagles with a double-double, finishing with 18 points and 10 rebounds. Jake Fleming (6 points, 6 rebounds), Ryan Tracy (4 points) and Brennan O’Boyle (2 points) also contributed.
Tracy and Fleming set the tone right off the opening tip as Tracy scored on a fast-break bucket 20 seconds into the game. Fleming followed with an inside basket after a rebound.
The Eagles were off and running as Lawlor scored 8 straight and Mt. Greenwood opened up a commanding 12-0 lead.
“This is a good group,” Healy said. “We’ve got some good players and good teammates. Everyone gets along pretty well, and they work well as a team. They’re helping each other out.”
Mt. Greenwood led 14-2 at halftime and 24-6 midway through the second half. Holding off a late CK charge, Lawlor grabbed a rebound and went coast to coast for a score.
After an O’Boyle basket, Lawlor added another after a steal and a hard drive to the hole.
The Christmas championship was a rematch of the St. Cajetan Thanksgiving tournament championship on Dec. 1; Mt. Greenwood won that game 30-20.
Healy said the two teams always battle it out.
“The kids are all enjoying it, and everyone is into the game. They’re keeping a level head,” he said. “We’re not overlooking anyone we play. It’s a nice little rivalry [with CK] that we’ve got going.”
Shaking off a tough first half, CK stormed back during the second half as the team’s deep roster delivered some key plays.
Jack Badke scored on a drive through the defense with just over 5 minutes to go in the second half. DeShawn Jones continued the run with a hard-fought basket off an assist from Case Cosme.
Badke added a putback and a free throw, and Cosme drilled a baseline jumper as CK got to within 9 points at 24-15 after trailing by as much as 16.
“If we could have made a couple shots early, they might have relaxed,” said CK Coach Andy Cosme. “With each basket and the deficit growing, they tightened up and got a little nervous.”
Badke paced the Screaming Eagles with 5 points and 7 rebounds. Jones and Patrick Malloy chipped in with 3 points each. Case Cosme and Johan Borjas scored 2 points apiece.
Despite the loss, Coach Cosme appreciated his team’s competitive spirit.
“They’re all improving. This was the best bench game we’ve had in a long time,” Cosme said. “Our bench woke us up. It’s nice to see the progression, not just offensively but defensively. All 11 kids played really well tonight.”
The Mt. Greenwood roster includes Cole McCann, Jack Cusack, O’Boyle, Tracy, Lawlor, Wesam Haleem, Declan Manrique, Jack Fratto, Fleming, Jack Doyle, Louie Soto and Assistant Coach Pat Fleming.
The CK roster includes Badke, Borjas, Cosme, Jones, Ian Kelly, Ryan Mulcrone, Malloy, Max Rees, Ben Reisinger, Nolan Riley, Seamus Segroves, Roger Casas and Assistant Coach Andy Rees.
St. Gerald 31
Robert White led Sutherland with 8 points in the third-place game. David Brown and Terrence Washington added 2 points each for the Bulldogs.
The Sutherland roster includes Aamir Smith, Maxwell Gorrell, White, Patrick Greenlee, Madden Nunn, Brown, Jonah Dugan, Washington, Dylan Lee, Amari Brown, Jaiden Jones, Joshua Fletcher, Noah Wadlington, Alexander Finkelstein, Kenan Weekley, Coach James White and Assistant Coach Jason Dugan.