St. Mary’s turns back U of D Jesuit to take two-game lead in Central Division

St. Mary’s Jayden Savoury is on the verge of a slam dunk as part of his 20-point performance against U-D Jesuit. The Eaglets beat the Cubs, 76-68, to take a two-game lead in the CHSL Central Division. (Photo courtesy of Paul Mellerowicz)

ORCHARD LAKE — The game last Friday evening between St. Mary’s and University of Detroit Jesuit was both breathless and breathtaking.

The Eaglets won 76-68.

Breathless because the two squads tore up and down the court to take 140 shots in 32 minutes of playing time — 4.375 shots a minute — to score 144 points, 4.5 a minute or a point every 16.8 seconds.

St. Mary’s converted 32 (including two 3-pointers) of 59 shots from the floor, a blistering 54%, and 14 of 18 free throws to accumulate its 76 points while U of D Jesuit, shooting a cooler 44%, needed a dozen 2-point baskets and a dozen 3s among 81 shots and eight of nine free throws for its 68 points.

Breathtaking because today’s game of basketball emphasizes a faster pace and versatile players who can play multiple positions and who are often more physically conditioned and athletic.

It’s entertaining, too. Spectators got more than their $7 a ticket worth for some momentary relief from the bitter 9-degree conditions outside Dombrowski Fieldhouse.

St. Mary’s, out to avenge a five-point loss to U of D Jesuit a month ago, took a 6-3 lead three minutes into the game on a triple by Trey McKenney and never trailed again, enlarging their advantage to 33-22 at the half.

The intensity and physicality picked up after the intermission.

The Cubs won the second half, 46-43, rallying from a 17-point deficit early in the fourth quarter to get within five points, 73-68, with 34 seconds to play.

McKenney (28) and Jayden Savoury (20) led the Eaglets’ attack. They combined for 40 points in the near vicinity of the basket bullying their way through the Cubs’ defenders.

“He’s unguardable,” St. Mary’s coach Todd Covert said about McKenney, using a word you won’t find in your Webster's, indicating the difficulty finding the verbiage to describe the multi-talented junior forward who also hauled down 14 rebounds, including seven in a row in the third quarter. St. Mary’s dominated the rebounds, 28-12.

Junior point guard Sharrod Barnes contributed 17 points along with 5 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals.

U of D Jesuit point guard junior Leroy Blyden turned in a sensational performance with a game-high 32 points, including six 3-pointers, 17 coming in the fourth quarter when the Cubs threatened to take the victory away from the Eaglets.

Junior Xavier Johnson had 17 points.

St. Mary’s win, along with the thrashing a week ago of Bloomfield Hills Brother Rice, gives the Eaglets (10-1 overall, 5-1 CHSL Central Division) a two-game lead over U of D Jesuit (10-3, 3-3), Brother Rice (8-4, 3-3) and Novi Detroit Catholic Central (9-3, 3-3). Warren De La Salle is 7-4, 2-4.

Noteworthy: The Pilots' two league wins are one-point squeakers, 54-53 and 72-71, over Catholic Central ... Brother Rice snapped its four-game losing streak by slipping past De La Salle 47-45.

Elsewhere in the CHSL:

In the AA Division, Riverview Gabriel Richard (11-1, 5-0) and Jackson Lumen Christi (10-1, 6-0) are headed for a showdown this Friday evening in a game played in Jackson. Gabriel Richard is ranked No. 1 in Division 3.

In girls basketball: Ann Arbor Fr. Gabriel Richard (11-0, 5-0 and No. 1 in Division 2) leads the CHSL Central Division by a game over Farmington Hills Mercy (5-3, 4-1).

In the AA Division, St. Mary’s Prep (11-0, 6-0) leads by a game over Lumen Christi (10-1, 5-1). The Eaglets trounced the Titans last week, 46-18.

Contact Don Horkey at [email protected].


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