basketball

NCAA championship is a win-win for Catholic universities

Villanova Wildcats guard Jalen Brunson hoists the national championship trophy after defeating the Michigan Wolverines, 79-62, in the 2018 NCAA men’s basketball championship April 2 in San Antonio.

WASHINGTON — The ball was in the court for Catholic universities in the NCAA basketball tournaments this year.

For the first time, Catholic university teams won both the men's and women's national championship games. The women's team, the Fighting Irish from the University of Notre Dame, beat Mississippi State University on Easter 61-58, thanks to Arike Ogunbowale's dramatic, 3-point shot with less than one second left.

The next night, the Villanova University Wildcats men beat the University of Michigan 79-62, winning their second national title in three years.

Pregame prayer, solid teamwork clinched win for Loyola, says Sister Jean

Sister Jean Dolores Schmidt, 98, longtime chaplain of the Loyola University Chicago men’s basketball team and campus icon, prayed with the team in October 2017. Sister Jean credited pregame prayer and the players’ solid teamwork for the Ramblers’ thrilling last-second 64-62 NCAA Tournament win over the University of Miami March 15.

DALLAS — A religious sister who is the longtime chaplain of the Loyola University Chicago men's basketball team credited the pregame prayer and the players' solid teamwork for the Ramblers' thrilling, last-second 64-62 win over the University of Miami in the NCAA Tournament on March 15.

"Our team is so great and they don't care who makes the points as long as we win the game," Sister Jean Dolores Schmidt, 98, told a reporter with truTV.

Incarnate Word, Chaminade basketball programs soar

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The defending state champions ruled in two state basketball finals involving Catholic schools from the archdiocese. Incarnate Word Academy earned its second consecutive championship in the Class 4 girls game, while Chaminade College Prep fought hard in the boys Class 5 game but lost to defending champion Webster Groves High School.

Incarnate Word's win

Duchesne guard plays for teammates, promotes a cause

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Ben Norwine displayed pinpoint passing and quick defense in Duchesne High School's 49-36 win against St. Charles West on Feb. 16. Twice in the first half, he grabbed an opponent's errant pass, dashed down the court and bounced a quick pass to teammates for easy layups.

Balanced Incarnate Word team enjoying its season

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“Whatever it takes” — speed, quickness, tough defense and rebounding — could be the slogan for the Incarnate Word basketball team this season.

The Catholic high school in north St. Louis County has a state-record eight state basketball championships, including last season. Current University of Connecticut star Napheesa Collier leads a long list of former star players. A loyal following packs the gym for home games.

Speedy Cardinal Ritter launches to victories

Cardinal Ritter College Prep’s Jaylin Hudson battled Bishop DuBourg High School’s Jailen Maxey for control of the basketball. After going into halftime with a 9-point lead, Cardinal Ritter pulled away in the second half for a 70-37 victory.

Fast-paced transitions are a hallmark this year for the Cardinal Ritter College Prep boys basketball team.

For example, against Bishop DuBourg High School Dec. 18, the Ritter team busted out after a 2-point lead in the second quarter, scampering full speed up and down the court to lead by 9 at halftime. Then the Lions of Ritter roared in the second half to a 70-37 win.

Cardinal Ritter, 9-3 on the season, scored more than 70 points seven times and 85 or more points three times so far this season.

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