Egg Harbor Twp. NJ – Black and Gold reigned last night as Evangelismos Greek Orthodox church from Northeast Philly claimed both the girls and boys 2015-2016 DVGOBL championships. For the boys, it was a decisive victory, as they completely shut down St. Luke. While the ladies of Evangelismos beat Holy Trinity (EGT) who they had just lost to at the Wilmington Invitational last week; but more importantly, they took home their first championship ever.
The pressure was on the Evangelismos’ girls last night. Last weekends two losses to Trinity were still fresh in their memory and now they really had to step up their game. They were on Holy Trinity’s home turf. But it sure didn’t look that way when you entered the gym, that’s if you could get into the gym. The doors and length of the court on one side were covered with Evangelismos fans. Some spots two rows deep. It’s a tradition we’ve seen in years past, usually portrayed by the fans of Holy Trinity when they would visit Upper Darby for championships waving banners and cheering.
But on this night, Evangelismos would own the gym and claim two championships. And their fans along with their whole community would be there to share in the moment. A bus load of fans had made the journey down to South Jersey. Seniors and children alike from the tiny parish on Bustleton ave. came in cheering and full of pride.
Girls Final Score: Evangelismos 27, Holy Trinity 24
Evangelismos struck first, with a single foul shot by none other, than their team leader, guard Francesca Bogiatzis. Bogiatzis didn’t stop there as she scored the team’s first six points in the first quarter. “Their beating us down court, that’s why they’re getting the buckets” yelled the Holy Trinity coach during a timeout.
Holy Trinity had fallen behind 8-1 in the first quarter, when they decided to switch to a box and one on Bogiatzis. That slowed the pace, but Bogiatzis’ experience still gave them control over much of the first half. She managed to dribble through the pressure all over the court and find open players. Alexis Nakos and Mary Fay Dimitriadis knocked down 9 of the team’s points.
Holy Trinity’s team then took control of the second quarter and closed the gap. Trinity had tightened up on defense and was now on an offensive roll. At halftime the score was 12-8 and the momentum appeared to shift. But Bogiatzis came out shooting and running her team again in the third quarter. At one point, as they entered the fourth quarter they were up by as much as ten. Bogiatzis had added another 9 points, 15 of her team’s total of 27. Holy Trinity’s late pressure in the fourth brought the game within a bucket, before Evangelismos finally took control and held off Holy Trinity. A great season and ending for both these teams. We’ll be sure to key an eye on them for next season.
Boys Final Score: Evangelismos 35, St. Luke 24
St. Luke’s came out shooting and quickly jumped out to a 5-0 lead in this matchup, that promised to be a shooting contest. But after an initial timeout by Coach Jim Contoudis, that all changed. The boys from Evangelismos managed to control the tempo and dominated the rest of game. The “Armentani Attack”, by brothers John and Jim was unstoppable. In the first half John stuck three, three point shots, 9 total of his team’s 16 first half points. They took the lead 16-12 at the end of the first half, and kept St. Luke on their heels. Greg Vlassopoulos was unable to get his shot fixed on the bucket and the half court pressure defense had St. Luke struggling to find itself.
Young Jimmie Armentani of Evangelismos then stepped up to add to his brothers first half performance, by dropping in 10 points of his own in the second half. St. Luke never appeared to be able to find itself. Evangelismos shutdown Chris Palmieri and the offense of St. Luke, who struggled the second half as well. St. Luke’s were completely overwhelmed and out of sync.That credit belongs to the all around defensive effort of Evangelismos. They clamped down the fast-high powered St. Luke offense which know one’s been able to do all season. They played as a complete team, outshooting and outperforming St. Luke.
When the final buzzer sounded the victory, there was jubilation during the team photo. “We asked for new uniforms and promised two championship” said Coach Jim Contoudis of Evangelismos, as he reached over to shake Father Alexandros Kantarakias’ hand. It was a perfect day for the team, fans and the community of Evangelismos.