Chaminade Conquers the Spartans to Move to 2-0 in the MCC


Owen Boyette, Sports Editor, Basketball Beat-Writer

On the basketball court, there appears to be a Ping-Pong like, back-and-forth relationship between Chaminade and DeSmet. The perennially tough MCC programs have traded wins over the previous two seasons, with the series being 2-2 since the 2018-2019 campaign. On Thursday night, the Red Devils took a series lead when they defeated the Spartans 73-60, the biggest margin of victory between the schools since February of 2018.

When talking to his squad after the game, assistant coach and member of the class of 2004, Coach Douglass said, “As an alum, I’m proud of this game… people are noticing.”

To begin the night’s action, Sekou Gassama of DeSmet beat Tarris Reed on the jump ball. DeSmet took the first possession of the night, and point guard Brian Taylor fed Gassama the ball in the low post where the big man proceeded to hit a fadeaway jumper over Reed. CCP responded with a Damien Mayo layup, but Gassama came back down the court and nailed a three pointer at the top of the arch. Filip Sinobad’s layup cut the lead to one, but Gassama was sent to the charity strike and buried his two shots bringing the score to 7-4, DeSmet.

On Chaminade’s following possession, Mayo grabbed an offensive rebound and put the ball back up for a layup. Filip Sinobad then blocked Jeremiah Walker’s layup, giving CCP an extra possession that ended with a trip to the free throw line for Tarris Reed. The star big man knocked down both shots. Jeremiah Walker and Jackson Neidenbach both made layups while Tarris Reed and Mark Jackson each cashed out at the free throw line. Brennan Lovette sank a floater to end the quarter 14-13 in favor of the Spartans.

Nilavan Daniels swished a high arching three pointer in the opening moments of the second quarter, putting the Red Devils in front for the first time. Justin Duff responded with a mid-range jumper, Gassama converted a layup, and Coach Bennett, wanting to kill DeSmet momentum, called a timeout with 6:36 left in the second quarter. Walker hit an and-1 out of the timeout, putting DeSmet up by 6. Reed went down the floor however and sunk his patented turn around jumper, cutting the deficit to 3. Back-to-back three pointers by the sharpshooter Nate Straughter and the big man Tarris Reed gave the home team a 24-21 lead.  Justin Duff hit a soft floater, and Mayo responded with a successful trip at the free throw line. Coach Kent Williams called a DeSmet timeout with 2:42 remaining in the first half.

Out of the timeout, Nate Straughter stole the ball on the inbounds and hit a transition euro step layup. A BJ Ward pullup jumper, a Damien Mayo layup along the baseline, and a Tarris Reed layup brought Chaminade’s total up to 34. For DeSmet, Brennan Lovette hit two shots from the free throw line as well as a mid-range jump shot, and Brian Taylor had a reverse layup. Going into the intermission, it was CCP 34 DeSmet 29.

During the halftime break, Coach Bennett told his team, “If you go in there with determination, you’ll get what you want… be persistent and you’ll get what you want.” He was convinced that the Red Devils just needed to keep doing what they were doing — just with a quicker urgency.

A 5-1 run fueled by a Nilavan Daniels’s mid-range jumper and a Filip Sinobad corner 3-pointer gave CCP some early momentum out of the half. DeSmet had a 4-point spurt of their own, however, as Gassama continued to sink shots at the free throw line and Justin Duff hit a layup.

Damien Mayo sent the Chaminade bench into a frenzy when the 6’2 guard attacked the basket and dunked over Sekou Gassama, the 6’10 center. Mayo proceeded to flex on the opposing senior, while everyone else in the gym attempted to process what they just witnessed. Unfortunately for the Nade, Reed committed his third foul with 4:32 left in the third, prompting Coach Bennett to sub Jimmy Lansing in for the Tarris.

After Tarris Reed came out, Lansing fouled Gassama, sending him to the line. The big man’s brilliance continued to shine as he sank both shots. Filip Sinobad stayed hot though as the Serbian knocked down a mid range jumper along the baseline and then a layup bringing Chaminade’s lead up to 9, 43-36. Both Gassama and Sinobad committed fouls, prompting their coaches to take them out around the 3:00 minute mark. A Damien Mayo layup gave CCP a double-digit lead and Coach Kent Williams needed a timeout with 2:35 left in the third frame.

To end the quarter, Gassama went 5 for 6 from the free throw line, Damien Mayo had a pair of layups, and Brian Taylor had a mid-range jumper. It was an MCC barnburner going into the fourth with a score of 51-43 in favor of the good guys.

Filip Sinboad’s final quarter opening layup as well as Nilavan Daniel’s floater were both answered by Brian Taylor and Jackson Niedenbach layups. Tarris Reed rattled in a fadeway jumper and the score sat at 57-47. Brennan Lovette’s following three pointer was the beginning of 8-1 DeSmet run that ended with a CCP timeout with 3:31 remaining in the final quarter of the night.

During the aforementioned run, Reed committed his fourth foul, but out of the timeout, the center converted a layup over Gassama. Regrettably, Reed complimented his score with a foul, ending his night. Reed’s foul sent Gassama to the free throw line where the center went 1 for 2. On CCP’s next two possessions, Filip Sinobad hit a layup and then a step back three pointer then left the Chaminade bench silent for the moments before it fell perfectly through the net giving the home team a 65-56 lead.

Two more Gassama free throws prompted a Chaminade timeout with 55 seconds remaining in the game. Out of the timeout, Nate Straughter hit a layup, but Brian Taylor responded with a post score of his own. Lovette proceeded to foul Mayo, sending the junior guard to the line, and ending #23’s night as he had committed his 5th foul. Free throws by Mayo and Nate Straughter along with a last second CCP layup brought the final score to 73-60 victory for Chaminade.

After beating DeSmet, assistant Coach Graham Imming began to talk about Chaminade’s next opponent: CBC, “Your next game is your biggest game for you… [winning] will let everyone know its your time… We are getting ready for the fight on Friday.”

Overall Record: 6-1

MCC Record: 2-0

Next Game: Friday January 15th at CBC, 6:00.