Saints sweep in playoff first round

By on March 9, 2020
John Keele (13) and Griffin Stella (5). Photo by Warren Kozireski

John Keele (13) and Griffin Stella (5). Photo by Warren Kozireski

Churchville-Chili’s basketball teams played a rare playoff doubleheader at home against the same team in the first round of the Section V playoffs and easily came away with the sweep of Brighton. The girls won 36-21 while the boys ran out a 79-50 victory. Both later lost to top-seed Irondequoit in the quarterfinals to end their seasons.

The Saints girls stormed out of the gate and led 10-0 on two three-pointers by junior Hannah Shipley and put-backs from senior Jade Distant and junior Jasmine Gibbs.

They managed just a field goal by junior Skylar Donohue and another trey by Shipley along with two free throws by junior Mikayla Shipley in the second quarter. Brighton could not solve their two-three defense and scored only six points in the stanza.

Gibbs opened the second half with a pair of free throws, sophomore Esabella Smith and freshman Sydney Postell added field goals while Distant converted a steal as the Saints extended their lead to 26-9.

They added the first six points in the fourth quarter as well, to put the game out of reach.

Distant had ten points with seven steals, Hannah Shipley scored eight points, and senior Annachiara Langone added six points for the Saints. Mikayla Shipley had five points, five rebounds, and three steals while Smith led with 11 rebounds to help the Saints win a playoff game on their home court for the first time in at least ten years.

“We all really love to play defense, and it’s become a really big part of who we are,” Distant said. 

“These girls have really come together and fostered strong relationships with each other,” Churchville-Chili head coach Todd Esposito said.  “They were having a hard time adjusting to it (the two-three defense), so we really didn’t want to come out of it.”

In the boys contest, senior Griffin Stella and Kamerin Poromon scored a pair of field goals in the first quarter to launch the Saints to a 16-13 lead. 

Stella added five more points in the second, and a three-pointer from senior Collin Cantrell extended their lead to eight.

The Saints went on a 24-9 run in a high-scoring third quarter highlighted by Stella’s eight points, treys by senior John Keele and Poromon, along with a drive from senior Marcus Postell.

The lead became 22 early in the fourth as Cantrell and Keele converted. Freshman Jason Gibbs added seven points later in the blowout.

The Saints had five different players score in double-figures.

“I think it speaks to our team chemistry,” Stella said. “We just had to establish the post and kick-outs more in the second half.”

“We just made it an emphasis to make the extra pass…and we have a lot of kids that can score, so we’re trying to get them to be unselfish,” Saints head coach Tim Miller said. “And it doesn’t show up in the scorecard, but the job John Keele, Kamerin Poromon, John Bagley, and Marcus Postell did on their men; we were able to take a few of their kids out of their rhythm.

Stella had a double-double with 20 points and two rebounds, Marcus Postell had 12 points and eight rebounds, while Cantrell tallied ten points and five boards. Keele added 12 points, and Poromon chipped in ten.