Siegrist, Team USA Off to Romania

Our Lady of Lourdes High School graduate Maddy Siegrist was selected to compete with Team USA at the 2022 FIBA 3×3 U23 Nations League Final scheduled for Sept. 14-16 in Constanta, Romania.

Siegirst is one of four players representing the United States in Romania, joining teammates Aaliyah Moore of Texas, Alyssa Utsby of North Carolina and Maddy Westbeld of Notre Dame.

Team USA qualified for the final by winning the Nations League Americas Conference last month in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.

Siegrist is coming off her best season at Villanova University, finishing second in the nation with her 25.3 points per game and grabbing 9.2 rebounds per contest. In 27 games, the Big East and Big Five player of the year finished with 12 double-doubles, 30 or more points in nine games and 20 or more points in 21 games.

Siegrist earned All-American honors from The Associated Press and the U.S. Basketball Writers Association.

Siegrist is entering her senior season at Villanova and will be returning to her hometown of Poughkeepsie to play against Marist College at the McCann Arena on Monday, Nov. 7.

CHRIS SHERIDAN PHOTO

Former St. Raymond Star Dies Tragically in Harlem Shooting

Please keep Darius Lee, his family and the St. Raymond High School community in your prayers.

The graduate of St. Raymond High School in the Bronx was killed in Harlem early Monday morning, the victim of a mass shooting that left eight others wounded.

“We are heartbroken and devastated to learn of the senseless passing of Darius Lee, class of 2018,” the school released in a statement on its Facebook page. “Our prayers and condolences go out to his family at this time, and we pray for his eternal rest with our Lord.

“Aside from being a tremendous basketball star, he was a phenomenal human being, and a young man living such a positive life, succeeding in school, on the court, and in life. These senseless acts of violence need to stop…such a tragedy.”

Lee just completed his fourth season of collegiate basketball, and his second at Houston Baptist University where he averaged a team-high 18.3 points and 8.3 rebounds per game. He also had team-highs of 86 assists and 65 steals, and shot 54 percent from the floor.

Lee finished with season-highs of 52 points and 18 rebounds against McNeese State on March 5. The 6-foot-6 guard/forward was 16 for 30 from the field and 20 for 27 from the free-throw line.

In two seasons at Houston Baptist, Lee scored 674 points.

“We are devastated. Darius was a remarkable young man who loved the Lord, his mom, his family, his teammates, his friends and his entire HBU family,” Houston Baptist men’s basketball coach James Sears Bryant said in a statement from the school.
 
“We are in shock and cannot wrap our heads around this news. My heart breaks for his mom, his sister and his entire family, and for our basketball team. The only thing we find comfort in right now is knowing where Darius is. He is in the arms of Jesus… we know that as fact. And we will see him again some day.”

Prior to Houston Baptist, Lee played two seasons at Sullivan County Community College where he was a first-team All-American as a sophomore after averaging 18.1 points, 9.1 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 1.3 steals per game. Sullivan finished the season ranked second in the nation with a 28-2 record.

Lee averaged 14 points, 5.3 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game as a freshman.

At St. Raymond, Lee was a two-year starter, averaging 21 points, 7.5 rebounds and 4.0 assists as a senior and 15 points, 6.0 rebounds and 2.5 assists as a junior.

Moran Throws for Salt Lake

Brian Moran allowed an earned run on three hits over two innings for the Salt Lake Bees in a 13-11 loss to the Tacoma Rainiers on Tuesday night.

Moran, 33, struck out two and walked none. In five games this season, he is 0-0 with a 2.57 earned run average and seven strikeouts over seven innings for the Class AAA affiliate of the Los Angeles Angels.

Moran was a second-round pick, 32nd overall, of the Baltimore Orioles in the 2016 Major League Baseball Draft. He is the brother of Cincinnati Reds infielder Colin Moran and nephew of former major leaguers Rick and B.J. Surhoff.

Rising Named Valedictorian

Jessie Rising, captain of the Manhattan College softball team, is the undergraduate valedictorian for this year’s senior class.

The biology major has a 4.0 grade point average and will be a speaker at Manhattan’s undergraduate commencement ceremony on May 18. Following graduation, she plans to enter graduate school at Thomas Jefferson University, where she’ll study to become a physician assistant.  

On the softball diamond this season, Rising has pitched in 17 games, 12 being starts, and has a 3.34 earned run average and 48 strikeouts in 67 ⅓ innings. At the plate, she’s collected 17 hits, including two doubles and a triple, eight runs scored and seven RBI.

Griffin Leaving Duke for NBA Draft; Davis Staying at North Carolina

Archbishop Stepinac High School graduates AJ Griffin and RJ Davis have chosen different paths for the 2022-2023 basketball season.

Griffin, who just completed his freshman season at Duke, has declared himself eligible for the 2022 NBA Draft, becoming the fifth member of the 2021-2022 Blue Devils to do so. Griffin, a projected lottery pick in the upcoming draft, started Duke’s final 25 games. He averaged 10.4 points per game and shot 45 percent from three-point range.

“I know a lot of kids grow up dreaming they could wear that Duke uniform and play in Cameron Indoor Stadium,” said Griffin in a statement released by Duke. “I was one of those kids growing up, and I am so grateful I had that opportunity. As I declare for the 2022 NBA Draft, I am filled with gratitude. It was an honor to play for Duke and represent The Brotherhood.  It was a dream come true. My experiences have helped prepare me for this moment and I am proud to know I will be a Blue Devil for life.”

RJ Davis, who just finished his sophomore season, will remain at North Carolina for at least one more year and will be one of three starters from the 2021-2022 NCAA DIvision I finalist to remain with the Tar Heels for next season. Davis averaged 13.5 points per game and had a team-high 142 assists in 2021-2022.

“RJ is Carolina Basketball,” North Carolina head coach Hubert Davis said following Davis’ announcement. “He’s one of the best players in the country on the court, in the classroom and the community. His smile, personality and character light up our team, our university and community. Nothing brings me more joy than having RJ back for another season.”

Griffin and Davis were a part of a historic meeting when Duke and North Carolina met at the 2021-2022 final four in New Orleans. It was the first time the two historic programs from campuses less than 10 miles apart played in the NCAA tournament. North Carolina won the battle before losing to Kansas in the championship game.

PHOTO COURTESY OF DUKE UNIVERSITY

NCAA Title for Stepinac Grad

Archbishop Stepinac High School graduate Fred Quartlebaum and the Kansas Jayhawks captured the NCAA Division I men’s basketball championship with a 72-69 victory over North Carolina in New Orleans on Monday night.

Quartlebaum is the team’s director of basketball operations and has served on the Kansas coaching staff since 2013.

Stepinac graduate RJ Davis finished with 15 points, 12 rebounds and three assists for North Carolina (29-10), which held a 40-25 halftime lead.

“We were just trying to remain positive, and things weren’t going our way,” said Davis, a sophomore guard, of the second half in a postgame press conference. “The shots that we usually make, were missing, were coming up short. Everyone just told each other, just stay together. There was a lot of time left.”

Davis averaged 13.5 points and 4.3 rebounds per game, and finished with a team-high 142 assists.

“We’ve been together this whole year,” said Davis. “We’ve made it this far for a reason. This team was special. I’m glad to share memories and big games that we’ll all talk about and cherish forever. We’ve been through a lot this year, faced adversity, overcame it, and all your hard work that we’ve put in through the offseason, summer time, preseason brought us to this point where we’re at.”

Stepinac Graduates Meeting for NCAA Basketball Championship

Archbishop Stepinac High School graduate RJ Davis and his North Carolina teammates will be playing Kansas for the NCAA Division I men’s basketball championship in New Orleans.

Tipoff is 9:20 tonight on TBS.

Davis is one of two Stepinac graduates participating in tonight’s NCAA championship game. Fred Quartlebaum, who played basketball at Stepinac and Fordham University, is the director of basketball operations for Kansas.

Davis and the Tar Heels advanced to the title game with an 81-77 victory over Duke on Saturday. The sophomore guard finished with 18 points, seven rebounds and four assists in 36 minutes.

Following the win, Davis was asked to reflect back now on first-year coach and former New York Knick Hubert Davis posting a photo of the Superdome in the North Carolina locker room at the start of the season.

“It’s crazy to think about. It’s definitely a surreal moment,” Davis said in the press conference. “It just shows how much confidence and belief he had in us from the beginning of the year. He told us we were going to be in this position so we might as well tell our parents to book their tickets now to New Orleans.

“Looking back at it and now being in this position, it’s something I’ll cherish forever. It’s definitely a great feeling right now.”

Quartlebaum arrived in 2013 at Kansas (33-6), which beat Villanova in their semifinal.

After playing at Stepinac, Quartlebaum played four years at Fordham University in the Bronx, where he earned a degree in communications and led the Rams as a senior into the 1988 NIT tournament.

Prior to Kansas, he was an assistant coach at Navy, Towson, Holy Cross, Fairfield, Iowa State, North Carolina, St. John’s and Notre Dame. 

In 2020, Quartlebaum was featured on WIBW-TV for spreading positive messages in his Kansas community during the pandemic.

“I look at breath as such a gratitude that was given to us.” Quartlebaum said in the 2020 interview. “The blessing of life is, is so, so important to me. And I do not take that very lightly at all.”

Click here to see the entire 2020 interview with Quartlebaum.

PHOTO COURTESY OF UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA

Griffin, Davis Set for Battle

Archbishop Stepinac High School graduates AJ Griffin and RJ Davis have created a buzz on the White Plains campus before stepping on the court in New Orleans for Saturday’s historic matchup that North Carolina residents waited so many years for.

Saturday’s Final Four meeting between Duke and North Carolina is the first ever between the two schools located less than 10 miles apart in an NCAA Division I men’s basketball tournament. Tipoff is scheduled for 8:49 p.m. on TBS.

Griffin is a freshman forward at Duke who is a projected lottery pick if he chooses to enter the 2022 NBA Draft, and Davis is a sophomore guard at North Carolina.

“Not many people from Stepinac make it to the Final Four and to say you played against each other is something we’ll always remember,” Griffin said in a press conference Thursday in New Orleans.

The game will follow a semifinal between Villanova and Kansas, which has Stepinac graduate Fred Quartlebaum on its coaching staff.

“The Stepinac community is so excited about the upcoming games,” Stepinac Athletic Director Michael O’Donnell told Catholic Sports Scene. “There is a great positive buzz about these former alumni accomplishments. The Final Four is a great event each year but this one will be a once in a lifetime for many of us here at school.  I have seen all three of these young men compete and watched them grow into the stars they are today. 

“Hard to believe that they will all be on the court Saturday night on the big stage. I’ll be rooting for each of them.” 

Davis and Griffin earned all-tournament honors in leading Stepinac to the 2018 New York State Federation AA championship, and also were members of Stepinac’s archdiocesan championship teams in 2018 and 2020.

Davis scored a career-high 30 points in a 93-86 overtime win over top seed and defending national champ Baylor in the second round of the NCAA tournament, and finished with 12 assists in his team’s 95-63 first-round victory over Marquette.

Davis is averaging 13.4 points and 4.0 rebounds per game, and has a team-high 136 assists.

Griffin finished with a team-high 18 points, three rebounds, one steal and one block for Duke in its 78-69 victory over Arkansas in the West Region final in San Francisco. The freshman was 7 for 9 from the floor and 2 for 3 from beyond the three-point arc.

Griffin, who was named by conference coaches as one of the top ACC freshman this season,  is averaging 10.5 points and 3.9 rebounds per game in almost 24 minutes per game this season.

“AJ is a phenomenal talent,” Davis said in a press conference earlier this week. “He can shoot the ball really well. He’s a freakish athlete. When he and I played together, it was a great duo. It was like no one could really stop us in New York. I’m super happy for him, super happy for his success with what he’s been doing this year.”

Duke (32-6) and North Carolina (28-9) are meeting for the third time this season with the two teams splitting the first two meetings with wins on the road. Former New York Knicks guard Hubert Davis is in his first season as North Carolina head coach, and Mike Krzyzewski has served as Duke’s head coach since 1980.

“So right now, we’re just enjoying it,” said Davis. “We’re enjoying each other. We have smiles across our face, but also at the same time, it is a business trip. We’re not just going down there to have fun. We’re going down there to take care of business.”

PHOTO COURTESY OF DUKE UNIVERSITY

Davis, UNC vs. Griffin, Duke

Archbishop Stepinac High School graduates RJ Davis and AJ Griffin will be a part of a historic meeting when North Carolina (28-9) and Duke (32-6) meet in the NCAA Division I men’s basketball Final Four in New Orleans on Saturday.

The two rival programs from the Atlantic Coast Conference, located less than 10 miles from each other, will be meeting for the first time in the NCAA tournament. Duke and North Carolina are scheduled for an 8:49 p.m. start.

Griffin finished with a team-high 18 points, three rebounds, one steal and one block for Duke in its 78-69 victory over Arkansas in the West Region final in San Francisco on Saturday. The freshman was 7 for 9 from the floor and 2 for 3 from beyond the three-point arc.

“You know, we never doubted as a team, a young team too,” said Griffin, who had 11 points, seven rebounds, one assist and one block in a 78-73 Sweet 16 win two days earlier over Texas Tech.

“Just we knew what we were capable of, and we just wanted to show the world. We got hungry guys and like I said, we just want to show the world, and we knew what we were capable of.”

Davis contributed nine points, four rebounds, four steals and three assists as  North Carolina ended the Cinderella run of St. Peter’s with a 69-49 victory in the East Region final in Philadelphia on Sunday. The Tar Heels scored the game’s first nine points and led, 38-19, at halftime.

In the 73-66 Sweet 16 win over UCLA two days earlier, Davis had 12 points, seven rebounds and three assists.

Davis and Griffin led Stepinac to the New York State High School Federation AA championship in 2018. Both earned spots on the all-tournament team.

PHOTO COURTESY OF DUKE UNIVERSITY

Quartlebaum Off to Final Four

Archbishop Stepinac High School graduate Fred Quartlebaum is heading to the NCAA Division I men’s basketball Final Four with Kansas after the Jayhawks defeated Miami, 76-50, in the Midwest Region final in Chicago on Sunday.

Quartlebaum is the director of basketball operations for the Kansas men’s basketball team, one of the top seeds in this year’s NCAA Division I tournament. The Jayhawks (32-6) will play Villanova in the Final Four at 6 p.m. Saturday.

Quartlebaum arrived at Kansas in 2013 and has been at Kansas for six Big 12 regular-season championships, two Big 12 tournament championships, three NCAA Elite Eight appearances and one NCAA Final Four appearance.

Quartlebaum played four years at Fordham and holds a degree in communications from the university in the Bronx. A co-captain in his senior season, he led the Rams into the 1988 NIT tournament.

Prior to his arrival at Kansas, he served as an assistant coach at Navy, Towson, Holy Cross, Fairfield, Iowa State, North Carolina, St. John’s and Notre Dame. 

Quartlebaum and his wife Christy have two sons, Trey, who plays for St. Francis in Brooklyn, and Mayson, who is a forward at Kennesaw State.