Over the most recent winter break, the McNick Men’s Basketball Team made the thirteen hour trek to Orlando, Florida to compete in the ESPN Wide World of Sports Holiday Tournament, hosted by KSA Events. As with all KSA competitions, participating teams come from across the nation- from California to Massachusetts- providing real national competition that brings together teams who would usually never face off on the court. Teams were divided into groups based on competiveness and skill, resulting in an eight team bracket. Heading into the tournament, the Rockets had set pretty high expectations for themselves according to head coach Tim Monahan. The goal established was to win the tournament, where the Rockets ended up placing third out of the eight teams in their bracket.
“We did well at the tournament, but we still could’ve done better. Third place isn’t bad, but we obviously wanted to win our pool,” senior guard Kyle Morrisroe said.
The Rockets played in three games, starting the week off beating Tiverton High School (RI) 57-23. The second game for the didn’t turn out as hoped when they lost to Whitesboro High School (NY) 43-44, but they returned to the court defeating King’s Ridge High School (GA) in a 53-30 win.
“We played a pretty good team out of Whitesboro, New York that we should have beaten, but they hit a big shot down the stretch of the last 10 seconds, costing us the game,” senior forward Andrew Schuermann said. “It was a tough loss, especially because the team that won it all we could have beaten as well.”
Though they did not reach their goal of taking home first place, Schuermann went on to be named MVP of the tournament.
“Throughout the tournament, I think three of our guys could’ve gotten MVP, but [Schuermann] really pulled through with lots of scoring in big moments along with his number of rebounds,” Monahan said.
According to Monahan, they certainly didn’t leave their goals in Florida. Moving forward, the boys aspire to win the GCL Central, where they are currently ranked second behind Roger Bacon. Morrisroe believes that they are still in good position to achieve this goal.
“Four of the five starters of the team have been playing together since grade school, so we are very familiar with each other,” Morrisroe said. “Each player has the ability to step up and perform well on any given night. I’ve put a lot of hard work in over the four years I’ve been here at McNick. Hopefully it all pays off with great success at the end of the season.”
In regular season action, the Rockets face LaSalle High School for one of their biggest games of the season at home on Friday, January 16. Freshman tipoff at 4:30 p.m., JV at 6 p.m., and Varsity at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $4 for student presale and $6 at the door.