Jackson, Fland Lead Team USA to Gold Medal at FIBA U17 World Cup

Cardinal Hayes High School’s Ian Jackson and Archbishop Stepinac High School’s Johnuel “Boogie” Fland helped Team USA capture the gold medal at the FIBA U17 Basketball World Cup in Spain.

Team USA defeated Spain for the gold medal, 79-67, on Sunday.

Team USA finished 3-0 in pool play, averaging 106.7 points per game and allowing 54.3 points per game. The United States defeated Egypt, 103-48, in the first round; Serbia, 106-80, in the quarterfinals; and Lithuania, 89-62, in the semifinals.

ESPN ranks Jackson as the third-best rising high school junior in the nation, and Fland is No. 18 in the same ranking.

Jackson averaged 11.9 points, 4.6 rebounds, 1.7 assists and 1.4 steals per game at the World Cup. The 6-foot-7 small forward shot 58.7 percent from the floor and 45 percent from three-point range. He scored 26 points against Mali and 21 points versus Lebanon.

Jackson has received scholarship offers so far from colleges such as St. John’s, Connecticut and Seton Hall.

Fland finished with 4.6 points, 2.7 rebounds, 3.6 assists and 2.1 steals per game. The 6-foot-3 guard, who turned 16 on July 10, scored 11 points in the quarterfinal win over Serbia.

Fland has received scholarship offers thus far from schools including Connecticut, St. John’s, Seton Hall, Providence, Pittsburgh, Miami (Fla.), Maryland, Illinois and Fordham.

Catholic Universities Are Contenders to Create Memories, Win NCAA Title

Who will it be?

Gonzaga? Villanova? Creighton? St. Mary’s? Seton Hall? St. Peter’s? Notre Dame? Loyola-Chicago?

Which Catholic university men’s basketball program will step forward and win the NCAA Division I championship?

“This is your time,” Herb Brooks told his United States hockey team before it pulled off the biggest upset of the 20th century by beating the Soviet Union, 4-3, at the 1980 Olympics in Lake Placid.

Five years after the miracle on ice, Villanova pulled off a miracle of its own by playing a near perfect game in upsetting Patrick Ewing and the Georgetown Hoyas for the national championship.

And you ask why I’m bringing up Georgetown and Villanova? I’ll tell you with some sports trivia. When was the last time Catholic universities won back-to-back NCAA Division I men’s basketball titles?

Georgetown and Villanova won the national titles in 1984 and 1985, the last time Catholic universities won back-to-back NCAA Division I titles. In 1985, St. John’s gave Catholic universities a third representative in the Final Four.

By the way, here is some more trivia. How many Catholic universities have won NCAA Division I men’s basketball championships since 1985?

Only one – Villanova in 2016 and 2018.

Like the U.S. hockey team in 1980 and the 1985 Villanova men’s basketball team, Catholic universities have an opportunity to create miraculous moments and win the 2022 NCAA tournament.

So who will it be?

Gonzaga, the nation’s No. 1 team going into the tournament, is due to finally bring coach Mark Few and Spokane, Wash., a national championship. Few and Gonzaga have 23 consecutive 20-plus win seasons, and Few has won almost 84 percent of his games as Gonzaga coach.

How about Big East tournament champ Villanova? Jay Wright continues to do a great job in Philadelphia with a team led by Big East Player of the Year Collin Gillespie.

St. Mary’s, a top-25 team, was the runner-up to Gonzaga in the West Coast Conference tournament, and Creighton nearly beat Villanova in the Big East tournament final.

What about Notre Dame? Will the Fighting Irish enjoy some luck of the Irish in this tournament? Notre Dame created a tournament memory for fans on the night before St. Patrick’s Day by rallying to beat Rutgers in double overtime.

Seton Hall and St. Peter’s are both from neighboring New Jersey. St. Peter’s, a 15th seed, won the MAAC tournament which includes colleges located in the archdiocese–Iona, Manhattan and Marist. Seton Hall is coached by Kevin Willard, who once coached at Iona.

How about Loyola-Chicago? This is only their third NCAA tournament appearance since 1985, and the first two produced great moments from great opportunity. The Ramblers reached the Final Four in 2018 and Loyola Chicago upset top seed Illinois to reach the Sweet 16 in 2021.

And there is Sister Jean Dolores Schmidt, B.V.M., Loyola Chicago’s team chaplain since 1994 who is now 102 years old. Sister Jean and Loyola Chicago became the story of the 2018 tournament and many were looking for the same when Loyola Chicago reached the Sweet 16 last year.

Is there an upset or two in Loyola Chicago’s future? Loyola Chicago is a 10 seed playing seventh seed Ohio State. Ohio State has lost four of its last five games.

“Ohio State? We’ll take ’em. We’ll work on ’em. … I believe our young men will do it,” said Sister Jean.

The stories and the memories are what make March Madness so much fun.

CHSAA Matchup in NY-Penn Playoffs

Iona Prep graduate Joe LaSorsa and John F. Kennedy Catholic graduate Gavin Garay are meeting as LaSorsa’s Hudson Valley Renegades and Garay’s Brooklyn Cyclones are competing in a New York-Penn League playoff semifinal.

Game 2 of the best-of-three series is tonight in Brooklyn with the Renegades leading the series, 1-0.

LaSorsa, an 18th-round pick of the Tampa Bay Rays in the 2019 Major League Baseball Draft, earned a spot in last month’s NY-Penn League All-Star Game. He’s 5-3 with a 2.23 earned run average for the Renegades, the Class A short-season affiliate of the Rays.

Garay, a 26th-round pick of the Mets in the 2017 Major League Baseball Draft, is hitting .253 with two home runs and 11 RBIs in 31 games for the Cyclones, a Class A short-season affiliate of the Mets.

Game 3, if necessary, will be in Brooklyn on Friday.

Panik Helping Mets in Playoff Run

Hopewell Junction’s Joe Panik, who attended St. John’s University, is playing second base for the New York Mets as the Mets are making a run toward the playoffs.

Panik helped the San Francisco Giants win a World Series in 2014 before earning a spot in the 2015 All-Star Game and winning a Gold Glove in 2016.

Click here to read his story.




LaSorsa Earns All-Star Nod

Iona Prep graduate Joe LaSorsa will be on the Red Team’s roster at Wednesday night’s New York-Penn League All-Star Game on Staten Island.

LaSorsa, an 18th-round pick of the Tampa Bay Rays in the 2019 Major League Baseball Draft out of St. John’s University, is a pitcher for the Hudson Valley Renegades, the Class A short-season affiliate of the Rays in Fishkill.

LaSorsa is 5-2 with a 1.57 earned run average for the Renegades. In 34 1/3 innings, the 21 year old has allowed six earned runs on 23 hits and seven walks. He has 29 strikeouts.



LaSorsa Continues to Excel

Iona Prep graduate Joe LaSorsa allowed an earned run on two hits and four walks in 3 1/3 innings over two outings against West Virginia for the Hudson Valley Renegades, the Class A short-season affiliate of the Tampa Bay Rays.

LaSorsa is 4-1 with a 1.29 earned run average. In 28 innings, he surrendered four earned runs on 15 hits and struck out 23.

LaSorsa was an 18th-round draft pick of the Rays in the 2019 Major League Baseball Draft out of St. John’s University.


LaSorsa Sports 1.09 ERA

Iona Prep graduate Joe LaSorsa has surrendered only three earned runs in 24 2/3 innings for a 1.09 earned run average in helping the Hudson Valley Renegades to a 25-18 record so far this season.

The Renegades are currently in second place with a 25-18 record, one game between the Aberdeen IronBirds in the New York-Penn League’s McNamara Division. Hudson Valley is the Class A short-season affiliate of the Tampa Bay Rays.

LaSorsa is 3-1 in 10 relief outings, allowing only 13 hits and two walks. He has 23 strikeouts and is holding opponents to a .157 batting average.

LaSorsa was an 18th-round pick of the Rays out of St. John’s University in the 2019 Major League Baseball Draft.


LaSorsa Earns 1st Pro Win

Iona Prep graduate Joe LaSorsa picked up his first professional win in leading the Hudson Valley Renegades to a 5-1 New York-Penn League victory over the Aberdeen IronBirds at Dutchess Stadium in Fishkill on Sunday.

LaSorsa allowed one hit and struck out two over three innings of relief. For the season, he has surrendered no earned runs on one hit and struck out four over five innings.

LaSorsa was the 18th round pick of the Tampa Bay Rays in the 2019 Major League Baseball Draft out of St. John’s University.


LaSorsa Perfect in Pro Debut

Iona Prep graduate Joe LaSosra pitched a perfect eighth inning in his pro debut for the Hudson Valley Renegades in a 7-3 New York-Penn League loss to the Vermont Lake Monsters in Burlington, Vermont, on Tuesday.

LaSorsa was selected in the 18th round of the 2019 Major League Baseball Draft by the Tampa Bay Rays, who assigned him to their Class A short-season affiliate in Hudson Valley.

LaSorsa pitched three seasons at St. John’s University before being drafted. He was 6-5 with a 1.66 earned run average in 2019.


LaSorsa Assigned to Renegades

Joe LaSorsa, a graduate of Iona Prep, was assigned by the Tampa Bay Rays to the Hudson Valley Renegades, a short-season Class A affiliate of the Rays in Dutchess County.

LaSorsa, a left-handed pitcher, was drafted in the 18th round by the Rays out of St. John’s University.

The Renegades open their season with a two-game series in Aberdeen tonight. The home opener is Sunday against the Lowell Spinners. On Monday, Cardinal Dolan will be in Fishkill for Catholic Education Night as Hudson Valley hosts Lowell.

Click here to read a Catholic New York story with information about Catholic Education Night and Cardinal Dolan’s upcoming visit to Dutchess Stadium.

Click here to learn more about LaSorsa, and the Renegades.