Upper Darby, PA – It was a close call for St. Luke’s boys, who managed to advance to the GOYA championships to be held in two weeks, by defeating St. Demetrios 36-34 in the semi-final playoffs of the DVGOBL. With less than thirty seconds left in the game, St. Demetrios missed three opportunities, one of which was a last second three point shot that would have given them a victory in this historic rival.
St. Luke 36, St. Demetrios 34 (Boys)
It was the big game of the day in the DVGOBL semi-final playoffs. Game four, the five o’clock match up featured St. Luke and St. Demetrios (boys) in what everyone expected to be a great game-and it didn’t disappoint. Both teams came out playing a very aggressive half court zone defense. St. Demetrios jumped out to a 7-2 lead, but St. Luke fought back and ended the first period on a three point shot by Greg Vlassopoulos that gave them the lead 8-7. By halftime the momentum had swung in St. Luke’s favor as they grew their lead to 20-13. St. Demetrios was unable to convert many of their shots throughout the rest of the 2nd half, while St. Luke had by then exposed the eight foot perimeter inside the paint with their big men. They eventually grew their lead to 7, before St. Demetrios’ defensive pressure yielded them several turnovers which they did convert-to get them within two points.
With just under a minute left in the game, point guard, Chris Dawkins of St. Demetrios had fouled out. Add in the loss of one of their power forwards in the third period, and things didn’t look good for St. Demetrios. But they didn’t give up. They managed to pressure St. Luke, into turning over the ball three times in the final seconds. Each time, errors, or as Coach Louie Karas of St. Demetrios said, “we came in prepared, but we just couldn’t execute, and that cost us”. A final three point shot by St. Demetrios hit the rim but did not drop, giving St. Luke the win and advancing them to the championship against Evangelismos in two weeks.
Holy Trinity (EHT) 35, St. George 14 (Girls)
The third matchup of the afternoon, featured two teams that met up last year in a memorable game. St. George beat Holy Trinity (EGT)-(girls) last year in the semi-finals in a stunning upset to advance to the championship. But Holy Trinity had been here 3 years in a row now and this day, they would not be denied.The first half, saw both teams playing a very even game. By halftime, Holy Trinity only led by a score of 17-13. But as coaches will tell you, games are won and lost in the third quarter, and that’s what happened here. Their fast paced offence of Trinity was too much for St. George to slow down, as they increased their lead to 26-14 by the end of third quarter. Holy Trinity completely dominated St. George and avenged their loss from last year. The team has arguably created a dynasty as it will be their 4 appearance in 5 years in the DVGOBL championships to take place on their home turf in two weeks.
Evangelismos 38, St. George 19 (Boys)
The question in game two was, how do you stop the Armentani brothers (Jim and John)? Answer that, and you might have had a shot. But realistically, they are a team with more weapons-including all around speed, and big men that can control the boards. Those are the key ingredients to making of a championship team. And in game two, things certainly appeared that way for Evangelismos who completely dominated St. George. Admittedly, the St. George boys played their hearts out in the first quarter, where they played stride for stride with the big boys of Bustleton Ave on defense. The only problem was, they couldn’t convert their shots. By then end of the first quarter, it was 11-3 in favor of Evangelismos. Both teams played horrible in the second quarter and only one basket was scored by Evangelismos making it a 13-3 halftime score. But in the third quarter, Evangelismos proved why they are a championship team contender. Steals and fast break conversion gave them an even a bigger lead. Half way through the third quarter, Evangelismos led 18-6, allowing St. George on three more points. By the end of the third quarter it was 23-8. Defensively, St. George had played a great game, but their offensive attack was nowhere to be found. A late full court press in the four quarter did give them an additional four points, but that was not nearly enough to compete with the Amantani brothers and the boys from Bustleton ave. They gone to the championship in two weeks, where they will be the favorites against St. Luke.
Evangelismos 29, St. Thomas 15 (Girls)
The Evangelismos girls blew out the defending champions, St. Thomas of Cherry Hill in the afternoons opener. They did it by controlling the boards and with their size. “Play the first minute like the last minute of the game”, said Coach Kostas Boyatzis of Evangelismos. And they certainly did as they marched over St. Thomas and advanced to the championship matchup. Evangelismos worked the outside perimeter through much of the first half and led 18-11. Each team only scored one basket in the third quarter, making it a 19-13 score. And in the fourth quarter, the Evangelismos girls, completely dominated the baseline and stuck their shots as they took home the victory. The boys and girls teams of Evangelismos are the only church with two teams in the championship this year.