Many fans of the SAC grumbled a year ago in the days immediately after Christmas when Homestead captured both the girls and boys championships in the holiday tournament.
Now, those grumbles have been magnified with the addition of Carroll to recent title winners.
The Chargers’ 60-49 victory over Snider in Saturday night’s SAC Holiday Tournament championship game was Carroll’s first title in the event on either side since its arrival in the league five years ago. While always a contender, Coach Marty Beasley’s team had not been able to climb the mountain prior to this year.
Sure, there was a trip to the championship game a few years ago, a 58-54 loss to North Side in 2015. But by and large, the Chargers had fallen short time and again.
But Beasley, Ray Vollmer and company made sure on Saturday that the Chargers are now kings of the SAC around the holidays, much like Homestead has done.
Try this stat on for size, Carroll and Homestead have now won six of the 10 titles in the SAC Holiday Tournament over the last five years.
Some were quick to point to the officiating on Saturday as reasoning why Carroll was cutting down the nets at Wayne. Sure, there were some weird calls and some odd confrontations (what was that ref doing getting nose to nose with Snider coach Jeremy Rauch after a call?), but no call made throughout the tournament cost a team a victory.
Northrop fans were not pleased when Coach Rod Chamble was handed a “flagrant technical” and ejected from the semifinal loss to Carroll. It had many, including Bounce, confused. What was a flagrant technical? Thanks to his referee friends, Bounce was able to understand what a flagrant technical was. It was nothing made up by officials, but simply a way to punish a coach that an official believes is being a detriment to the game without giving the opponent a wealth of free throws.
The Bruins did not lose to the Chargers because of the officials as much as they did their own play. The same goes for Snider, which allowed leak out after leak out on the defensive end over the course of two Saturday games. It survived the defensive breakdowns against Homestead, but were unable to against Carroll.
Which gets Bounce back to the Chargers. So many people want to talk about who ISN’T playing for Carroll, whether through transfers or whatever off-court drama that wears Bounce out. But no matter who isn’t there, the Chargers under Beasley continually produce good basketball teams. Jalen Jackson struggled with his shot for much of the final, but made plays late, along with Vollmer and Sam Strycker, to lead Carroll to victory.
While coaches and parents within the SAC fight over this talent going to this school or that school, Beasley annually takes who he has, coaches them up and beats a fair amount of local teams with sexier talent on the roster.
And that is the point that should have area fans truly concerned. On the boys side, Homestead and Carroll have plenty of talent on their respective rosters, but their ability to beat teams who have some of the most fought-over talent in the city is truly impressive. Guys like Sam Strycker and Richie Gross do not instill fear in too many teams, but they play hard, execute and run the game that Beasley wants them to employ.
There is no conspiracy to hand SAC titles to Homestead and Carroll. There is no preferential treatment. All these past few days proved is that those two programs have cemented themselves as the most consistent winners in the SAC.
Everyone else continues to play catch up.
BOUNCE’S ALL-TOURNAMENT TEAM
Luke Goode, Homestead
Dillon Duff, Snider
Michael Eley, Snider
Ray Vollmer, Carroll
Jalen Jackson, Carroll
Brenden Lytle, Bishop Dwenger
Alec Grinsfelder, Homestead
Qualen Pettus, Northrop
Xavier Nolan, Bishop Dwenger
Sam Strycker, Carroll
Kamron Mitchell, South Side
Naylon Thompson, Bishop Luers
Quincy Miles, Wayne
Devin Baney, Northrop
Jon Barnes Jr., Snider