Boys Basketball – SSN Army Strong Team of the Week: Donovan Catholic
Donovan Catholic entered the season with four new starters who just so happened to be replacing the four top scorers on last year's squad, which nearly knocked off Christian Brothers Academy in the NJSIAA South Jersey Non-Public A quarterfinals.
This would be a relatively inexperienced group and for first few weeks of the season, the Griffins played like it. They lost to Toms River South in a game in which they scored only 24 points and dropped a home game to an improved, but hardly tradition-rich Barnegat team.
The season continues to be an up-and-down one for a Griffins team heavy on juniors and light on varsity experience. They just lost their third home game on Tuesday, dropping a 54-46 decision to 6-8 Manchester. Ultimately, however, Donovan Catholic is in the thick of a division title race thanks a week-long run that included wins over fellow contenders Lakewood and Point Boro, and that stretch earned the Griffins the Army Strong Team of the Week Award for Week Four.
The Griffins began their standout stretch by doing something they hadn't done in seven years: they beat Lakewood. Not only did Donovan Catholic knock off the team that has won six consecutive outright division titles on Jan. 13, but the Griffins did so on the road, 45-44. Junior Joe San Fillippo - who missed the loss to Toms River South - led the way with 18 points in the team's first win over Lakewood since the 2009-10 season.
Donovan Catholic again played the role of road warriors on Jan. 17, when they rolled into Point Pleasant and beat Point Boro, 57-48, to officially move into first place in the Class B South race. Junior Anthony Silvestrone led Donovan Catholic with 19 points while junior Jethro Moll - the lone returning starter from last year's team - added 12 points and eight boards. San Fillippo also stepped up with eight points and 11 rebounds in the win over the Panthers.
The Griffins will have a chance to win B South for the first time since 2010 if they can shake off their home hex and beat both Lakewood and Point Boro at Gepp Gym and run the table through the rest of B South. Whether or not that happens, Donovan Catholic's young roster has done well for itself by competing for a division title.
2017 Team of the Week Winners
Week 3: Ranney
Week 2: Rumson-Fair Haven
Week 1: Ocean