By Keith Mills
The 39th Baltimore Catholic League tournament tips off Feb. 27 at Loyola University Maryland's Reitz Arena, and for the second year in a row Mount St. Joseph senior Eric Atkins heads in as the league's Player of the Year.
Atkins, who will play next year at Notre Dame, was honored Feb. 23 at the annual Catholic League luncheon, along with Mount St. Joe coach Pat Clatchey, Calvert Hall's Donya Jackson and more than 22 BCL players.
Loyola head coach Jimmy Patsos and athletic director Joe Boylan were the guest speakers.
"Make sure you get to college," Patsos told the gathering of seven Catholic League teams, coaches, athletic directors and principals. "Make sure you go to a school that will look out for your best interests, a school where you will play and get your degree. That's what's important. I don't think anyone in here is going to play in the NBA. That's not a knock on anyone. That's just how tough it is to make it. But you can go to a good school and get a good education."
A few hours after receiving his honor, Atkins led Mount St. Joe to a 72-62 win over Calvert Hall. The league originally planned to cancel several games of the regular season because of the recent snowstorms, but Catholic League commissioner Jack Degele decided to make them up this week to seed the teams for this weekend's tournament.
Atkins scored 17 points following senior Matt Miller’s 21 as the Gaels raised their record to 29-3, earning the regular season champion title and top seed in this weekend's tournament.
Clatchey was named this year's winner of the O. Ray Mullis Coach of the Year Award. Mullis, the longtime coach at Cardinal Gibbons, led the Crusaders to six Catholic League championships and won 621 games in his legendary career.
Clatchey is in his 18th year at Mount St. Joe and has led the Gaels to three BCL championships. The last one came in 2006 when Louis Birdsong and Dejuan Goodwin led the Gaels to a 38-1 record, Catholic League and MIAA A Conference championships and runner-up finish in the 46th Alhambra Catholic Invitational Tournament in Cumberland.
The 50th Alhambra tournament tips off in three weeks and will once again include Mount St. Joe, which qualifies thanks to its regular season league championship.
Jackson won the Mark Amatucci Defensive Player of the Year award and also earned honorable mention all-league honors. Erik Fisher (Cardinal Gibbons), Connor McRoy (Archbishop Spalding), R.J. Williams (St. Frances) and Mike Fitzpatrick (Loyola) also earned Honorable Mention honors.
Miller, who scored 26 points in the Feb. 23 win over Calvert Hall, and Dante Holmes of St. Frances headline the second team, which also includes Greg Lewis of St. Frances, Nic Martin of St. Maria Goretti and Loyola's Matt Mathias.
Atkins highlights a first team that includes teammate Ryley Beaumont, Calvert Hall's Jonathan Graham, Dylan Cormier of Cardinal Gibbons, Calvert Hall's Damion Lee and Wayne Sparrow of St. Frances.
Seven other players were honored with Never, Never Quit Award, which honors David Kropfelder, a longtime basketball official and former standout baseball and basketball player who lost his battle with cancer five years ago.
St. Frances has won the last two Catholic League championships, seven overall. The tournament tips off Feb. 27 at 5 p.m., and continues Feb. 28 with the semifinals set for 6:45 and 8 p.m. The championship game will tip off March 1 at 7 p.m.
Posted February 24, 2010