Archdiocese-hosted tournament tips off high school girls hoops season

| November 18, 2016 | 0 Comments
Cretin-Derham Hall's Paige Goaley takes a shot during girls basketball practice Nov. 15. The Raiders will join 11 other Catholic schools in the first-ever Thanksgiving girls hoops tournament Nov. 25-26 sponsored by the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis' Office of Development and Stewardship. Dave Hrbacek/The Catholic Spirit

Cretin-Derham Hall’s Elizabeth Edinger takes a shot during basketball practice Nov. 15. The Raiders will join 11 other Catholic schools in the first-ever Thanksgiving girls hoops tournament Nov. 25-26 sponsored by the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis’ Office of Development and Stewardship. Dave Hrbacek/The Catholic Spirit

An early tip-off tournament has Cretin-Derham Hall head girls basketball coach Joe Lynch moving things ahead of schedule this year.

“We have to get to things sooner in our tryouts and/or practice sessions,” Lynch said.

Eleven days after the team’s first practice, the Raiders will play in the first-ever girls hoops tournament hosted by the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis’ Office of Development and Stewardship Nov. 25-26. CDH, based in St. Paul, and 11 other Catholic high school teams will compete in the Thanksgiving Tip-Off, two days after the earliest first game date allowed by the Minnesota State High School League. The tournament takes place at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul.

“I think it’s going to be a great experience,” said Ellen Thompson, who coaches at Holy Family Catholic High School in Victoria. “We don’t get this opportunity ever.”

Opportunity awaits Holy Family and Academy of Holy Angels in Richfield coming off state tournament runs last season. Holy Angels ended a 40-year championship drought with the Class 3A title, and Holy Family reached the 2A tourney. Both squads aim to play at Williams Arena again in March, the site for the state finals.

“They place high expectations on themselves,” Thompson said.

In addition, high expectations abound among the tip-off tourney squads after solid 2015-2016 campaigns. DeLaSalle High School in Minneapolis came five points shy of the 3A state tourney. CDH, St. Agnes School in St. Paul, Providence Academy in Plymouth, Totino-Grace High School in Fridley and Lourdes High School in Rochester all reached their respective section semifinals. Cristo Rey Jesuit High School in Minneapolis won its conference, and Cotter High School in Winona finished second in its division.

“There is a great amount of talent at these schools, and this tournament is the perfect platform to showcase those talents,” said Margaret Slawin, director of Development and Stewardship, who organized the tournament.

Slawin spoke with UST women’s basketball coach Ruth Sinn about having an all-Catholic schools tournament. Sinn welcomed Slawin to have the tourney at UST.

“Our goal for our St. Thomas women’s basketball program is to build strong, confident young women through the sport of basketball,” Sinn said. “This Catholic high school tournament gives us an opportunity to connect with these young ladies and promote this growth mindset message, one of empowerment and determination.”

Some players in the tournament have college athletics potential. ESPN has Holy Angels sophomore post Destinee Oberg ranked fourth nationally among class of 2019 post prospects. Totino-Grace senior post Sydney Weierke committed to Division II Concordia University-St. Paul in early November. Holy Family senior guard Brooke Bowlin will play Division II softball at St. Cloud State University.

Moreover, 50 college scouts are invited for the tip-off tournament, which gives other players a chance to bolster their college athletics hopes. Lynch noted that junior forwards Autam Mendez and Haley Moore, along with junior guard Elizabeth Edinger, could get higher-level NCAA looks.

For now, the tournament gives the prep teams a chance to get their season started early against quality non-conference opponents. Moreover, playing other Catholic schools brings together a common bond between the teams.

“All in the same family,” Cristo Rey head coach Darryl House said. “I think it’s a great way to get our new season started.”

Besides varsity squads, junior varsity and B-squad teams will compete in adjacent tournaments at UST the same weekend. The participating schools include Benilde-St. Margaret’s in St. Louis Park, CDH, Cristo Rey, DeLaSalle, Holy Angels, Holy Family, Providence Academy, Rochester Lourdes, St. Agnes, Totino-Grace, Visitation and Winona Cotter.

For more information, visit the Turkey Tourney page at the archdiocese’s website.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Category: Local News