CCP Basketball Opens 2020-2021 Season with Back-and-Forth Win over Vianney


Owen Boyette , Sports Editor, Basketball Beat-Writer

Winter sports are back, and so is Chaminade Basketball. The perennial final-four contenders played their first game since their March 12th win over Mehlville on Wednesday night against Vianney. And while a lot has changed in the world since Mid-March, Wednesday’s final result stayed the same: A Red Devil win.

After graduating four seniors – two of whom have been varsity starters since 2017 – the opening lineup looked a little bit different than what CCP fans have gotten accustomed to over the past two seasons. Sophomore BJ Ward played the point, while the long-time varsity guard Damien Mayo accompanied him at the shooting guard spot. Sophomore sharpshooter Nilavan Daniels started at the small forward, and Junior Filip Sinobad, a Serbian dormer in his first year at Chaminade, played the power forward. Rounding out the starting lineup was Junior Tarris Reed, the 6’10 center who is drawing attention from power five colleges across the country.

Off the opening jump, Tarris had the height and leaping advantage but inadvertently tipped the ball forward, thus giving Vianney the opening possession. Much to the surprise of Coach Bennett and his staff, the Golden Griffins attacked the basket and looked to finish at the rim. Compared to Vianney teams of the past, this strategy was frankly atypical. Kevin Walsh’s teams have been known for setting meticulous off-ball screens, cutting two and threes times away from the basket and swinging the ball around the perimeter of the half court trying to get wide open jump shots, resulting in possessions that would sometimes take up to a minute and a half off the clock. On Wednesday night, perhaps a result of a more athletic team, Vianney guards looked to take Red Devil defenders off the dribble and drive to the rim with a possibility of a kick-out three; otherwise, they were looking to knockdown layups.

A quicker paced attack was no problem for Chaminade defensively, as it let the front-court players convert V-High turnovers into quick fast-break buckets at the other end. Urgency was apparent in the opening quarter, and the Red Devils captured a bit of momentum about five minutes in when Junior guard Nate Straughter came off the bench and hit a three at the top of the arch right in front of the Vianney bench. As the last seconds of the first quarter ticked away, Damien Mayo cashed a three of his own to give the Red Devils a 20-15 lead after the first eight minutes.

Being a senior heavy team, Vianney responded well out of the break and played strong defense for the first three minutes of the second quarter. However, momentum flipped back to Chaminade’s favor as the Red Devils went on a 10-0 run, and then a defensive stop forced a Vianney timeout with 2:51 left in the 2nd quarter with the score sitting at 36-22. For the last three minutes of the half, both offenses got going and a twenty-two foot three pointer by Vianney’s Adam Sauslee sent both teams to the locker room with the score of 47-31.

Out of the break, it looked as if the home team would start to run away with the game.  CCP went on a 6-0 run, bringing the score to 53-31 before the Golden Griffins had a chance to catch their breath. A CCP trip to the charity stripe seemed to be the catalyst for another momentum shift, as Vianney outscored the Red Devils 15-8 over the remainder of the third quarter. This brought the score to 61-46 as the fourth quarter began.

Both offenses kept producing, but Chaminade just couldn’t put their MCC foe away. With 1:53 left in the game, it was CCP 74, V-High 64. A deep step back three by Ethan Lattimore brought Vianney Back within nine points at the 1:00 mark, and for a moment, it felt like a run was coming. Fortunately for Chaminade, Nate Straughter was feeling it from the free throw line. He was fouled three times over the next minute and sunk all six free throws to keep Vianney at arm’s length away. A strong defensive effort down the stretch along with clutch free throw shooting sealed the deal for Chaminade as they opened the season with an 82-70 win.

Damien Mayo lead the team with 32 points, BJ Ward kicked in with 14, and Nilavan Daniels had 12.


Overall Record: 1-0

MCC Record: 1-0

Next Game: At Trinity Highschool, Thursday December 10th at 5:00 O’clock.

Photos courtesy of John Gronski