St. John’s boys’ basketball team had an exciting season this year with their unexpected WCAC playoff run. Earning a respectable 13-5 record, the boys held their own against some of the toughest players and teams in the country throughout the season. Facing the likes of DeMatha, Gonzaga, and Paul VI, they had some tough matchups, knowing that they could meet again in the playoffs in February. Senior, Jalen Abbot said, “We prepare the same way for every game. We fight the same and we make every game a tough one against some of the best talent and take care of business.”
The playoffs began with the team taking Bishop O’Connell down in a 64-50 victory at Gallaudet University, showing they were a force to be reckoned within the playoffs. The quarterfinals game against DeMatha proved to be one of the most intense games of the season. The boys were ready to rumble when they arrived at Bender Arena at American University, and by golly, they delivered when they played their hearts out. When the final play came, DeMatha had seconds to pull a shot off. They rushed down the court against a tough SJC defense and let the ball fly. Virginia commit and St. John’s star Casey Morsell ’19 came out of nowhere and swatted the shot with milliseconds remaining propelling the team to the WCAC title game.
After a long weekend of playing with no breaks, the boys played Gonzaga at AU on Monday night. Student attendance at the game was very strong, and the boys left it all out on the court. Tensions were high because of the vast history behind one of the nation’s greatest rivalries. St. John’s went down early and fought hard the rest of the game, coming back by the end. In the longest last 30 seconds of a game ever, Gonzaga defeated the Johnnies in a heartbreaking loss by four points.
St. John’s basketball team entered the belly of the beast at Gonzaga when they played them for a fourth time in the DCSAA playoffs. The boys absolutely jumped Gonzaga at their home gym, scoring 20 points in the first quarter, answered by only four from the boys in purple. With a 64-46 victory, the Cadets handled Gonzaga, redeeming themselves from their tough loss in the WCAC championship. Manager Vinnie Morin ’19 told The Sabre, “It took us four times, but we beat those Eagles.”
Coach Behan said, “The guys definitely were an extremely resilient group. We had a lot of really good games and overcame a lot of adversity this season. Under pressure, we played some of our best basketball. The boys committed to each other.”
The Cadets advanced to the semifinals of the DCSAA tournament before losing to the eventual champs, Sidwell Friends. They will also compete in the prestigious Alhambra Catholic Invitational Tournament following the DC States. With the seniors on the team approaching their final moments together on the court, Morsell said, “This season has consisted of many highs and lows, but I’m just thankful for each opportunity I have to play with my teammates. It’s a true blessing.”