Star of the week: St. Patrick’s Royale Ewing

Scott Kitun/The Medillian

St. Patrick High School begins the 2012 basketball season with its annual Max Kurland Thanksgiving Tournament and all eyes are on the Shamrock’s star senior guard, Royale Ewing.

Ewing is a 6’1 guard from the Near West Side neighborhood of Chicago and he is currently ranked by as one of the top 25 players in Chicago.

“If I didn’t choose to go to St. Patrick, I would probably go to Whitney Young. But, I think St. Pat’s offers me the best chance to achieve my dreams.” Ewing said.

Ewing has played competitive basketball since he was 5 years old said his dream has always been to play college basketball and make it to the NBA.

Additionally important to Ewing is academics and that is another reason he left some of his friends and enrolled at St. Patrick High School. Although as Ewing said, “I work hard at school, but I really don’t like science class. That isn’t my favorite subject.”

Last season, St. Patrick lost in the regional round of the Illinois state playoffs to Maine South 43-30.

St. Patrick head coach Mike Bailey said prior to the Max Kurland Tournament that his team is predicated on great defense, but that Royale is definitely the team’s most versatile playmaker.

Ewing, who plays for the Chicago Rising Stars 16U AAU team in the offseason, has played against some of the best players in the Midwest and routinely impresses the scouts with his smooth shooting touch.

At the 3rd Annual Nike Spring Showdown in Merriville, Indiana, Ewing led his Chicago Rising Stars team to the Gold Division Title by scoring 20 points.

His strong play during the AAU circuit has resulted in much recruiting buzz.

“I am currently being recruited by Illinois, Purdue and Xavier. But, I haven’t decided where I want to play yet,” Ewing said.

All of the attention has not distracted Ewing from preparing for his final Shamrock season. He is focused on helping his team move beyond the state’s regional round. But, Ewing said, “First thing though, we have to win our games here in conference.”

Ewing got his 2012 season off to a great start in the first game of the Max Kurland Tournament, by scoring 14 points and advancing his Shamrock team past their first round match-up, Mather High School by 40 points.

“I had a pretty good game shooting tonight,” Ewing said. “But, I want to beat Oak Park Saturday in the tournament finale. They beat us last year and I think we got them this year.”

St. Patrick’s Max Kurland Thanksgiving Tournament

Scott Kitun/The Medillian

The 2012 Max Kurland Tournament kicked off Monday night with a bang for the St. Patrick Shamrocks.

The Shamrocks defeated Mather High School 81-42, in a breakneck paced game. Led by shamrock senior Royale Ewing, the team began the game by making its first eight shots and stifling the Mather offense by hustling to loose balls from both ends of the court.

“We have given a great effort so far and I expect it to continue throughout the tourney and season,” Coach Bailey said after the game.

The Shamrocks added to their success Wednesday by again relying on the hot shooting of senior guard Ewing, while handling Phillips 74-43 in a very similar style game to their victory on Monday against Mather.

The Max Kurland Thanksgiving Basketball Tournament has been a highlight of the St. Patrick High School season since the great former coach left the sidelines in 1994.

Every year, St. Patrick hosts a Thanksgiving tournament that is usually highlighted by a few marque teams, such as perennial powerhouse Fenwick or last season’s tournament winner, Oak Park River Forest.

The Max Kurland Tournament is a five day, five-team tournament that crowns a winner based on the team that has the best record at the end of the week.

“This tournament is named after the legendary coach that I replaced. It means a lot to our boys, our alum and most of all to me.” St. Patrick’s head coach Mike Bailey said.

Max Kurland, who devoted 38 years to coaching basketball at St. Patrick High School, was elected into the Illinois High School Coaches Hall of Fame in 1980.

Kurland’s name is synonymous with St. Patrick High School and since he retired in 1994, his impact on the school has remained.

“I was an assistant coach under Kurland for years and I still think of him as a mentor to this day.” St. Patrick Principal Joe Schmidt said.

Following a break from play to enjoy Thanksgiving, play will continue Friday at 7:30 p.m. when St. Patrick plays against Hyde Park.

Chicago Catholic League rolls into Habetler Bowl Saturday

Coaches at the Catholic League North South Meet Saturday

The Chicago Catholic League has sent more bowlers per conference (12, last season) down state than any other high school league in Chicago and one team in particular, St. Patrick High School, sends more than most.

Heading into Saturday’s Catholic League North South meet at Habetler Bowl in the Jefferson Park neighborhood of Chicago, the St. Patrick Shamrocks are looking to add to their pin-count in conference play.

St. Patrick head coach, Pete Dougherty said, “We did well last season counting on two freshman so I think this year we should be only that much better”.

Having gone to state as a team 5 of the last 8 seasons, the Shamrocks look to continue their winning tradition this season. With sophomore star bowler Dan Silva having opened the season last week by bowling a 248 and 258 the team looks primed to for another run.

The team is currently ranked third in conference.
“We didn’t roll our best game last week but I am confident with our returning team that we will get it going soon”, senior team captain Steve Randazzo said.

And they did, the Shamrock’s stellar play was good enough to win their individual match against St. Rita while bowling a team score of 2,057 pins, an astounding 137-pin advantage over the second highest total in Saturday’s North South meet, Brother Rice High School.

The Shamrocks will have to wait until Tuesday, when conference-scoring results are published, to see if their effort Saturday was enough to move them into first place in conference.

Mike Jorgensen, St. Patrick’s high-bowler Saturday, bowled for an average of 232, which was good enough to medal in this second conference meet of the season.

Also competing in the North South meet is Gordon Tech High School, who comes into Saturday’s meet ranked second overall in the Catholic League.

Last season Gordon Tech finished in fifth place overall in conference. But, behind the play of Ty Tres and Elliott Igunbor, who both enter Saturday’s meet averaging 200 pins per game, Tech looks to be competitive.

Senior Elliott Igunbor said, he has been bowling better than ever the last few weeks and looks forward to a good season that he said will hopefully finish up at the state tournament.

Unfortunately, after a terrific start to the season last week, Gordon Tech had what head coach Joe Hohrein called, “a disappointing meet”.

With a team score of just 1,684 pins, Tech lost their individual match against Mt. Carmel and finished in the middle of Saturday’s field.

Both teams will meet again Tuesday as conference play resumes at 4 p.m. at Habetler Bowl

Shamrocks fall to perfection

The football season came to an end this weekend for Northwest Chicago’s St. Patrick High School Shamrocks, just one week after their first playoff win in eight years.

Fresh off a 41-15 drubbing of Glenbard South, the Shamrocks (7-4) kicked off in Northwest suburban Cary at 1 p.m. Saturday against the Cary-Grove Trojans (11-0) in the second round of the 6A IHSA playoffs.

Before the game Head Coach Dan Galante said, “We were picked to finish seventh or eight this season by most of the local media and we finished third and now we are here playing hard some more.”

But the game did not get off to the start St. Patrick had hoped, with Cary-Grove scoring on it’s first six possessions, including a 75-yard touchdown run by Cary-Grove’s star senior fullback Kyle Norberg (17 carries, 205 yards), on their first possession.

After falling behind 14-0, the Shamrocks struck back with a 41-yard touchdown pass from sophomore quarterback Zack Fuller to senior receiver Steve Galiardo, one of his two touchdown receptions.

Cary-Grove pushed the score to 21-7 on the ensuing possession, but the Shamrocks again responded with a touchdown of their own when star junior running back, Jeremy Molina (20 carries, 185 yards) scored his fifteenth touchdown of the season on a handoff at the four-yard line.

Unfortunately, Cary-Grove took over from there, scoring 21 consecutive points and putting the game out of reach for St. Patrick.

“The guys fought hard and showed plenty of the same heart and effort that has characterized this team all season,” St. Patrick Principal Joe Schmidt said.

In the fourth quarter Cary-Grove began pulling its starters and coasted to a 49-21 victory.

The Trojans are now set to play Crystal Lake-Central next week, while the Shamrocks will now be able to reflect on their great season.

“We accomplished a lot this year. We finished third in a conference we weren’t even picked to contend in,” Galante said.

“Eight of our players were named to the all-conference team. It was a great season”