Defense and Discipline Defining Eagles

With just four regular season contests remaining, the men’s varsity basketball team will look to increase its lead in the GCL North on the road against league rival Carroll Friday night.

Support the feature team of the week during the 7:30 p.m. matchup at Carroll High School (directions). The freshmen team will play at 4:30 p.m., followed by the JV at 6 p.m. A limited number of pre-sale tickets are on sale in the athletic office for $6 (adults) and $4 (students), with all tickets being $6 at the door.

Preview:  CJ (11-5, 7-3 GCL) vs. Carroll (9-6, 4-6 GCL)

After a 17-point home victory in the teams’ first meeting, the Eagles face the Patriots for a second time at a pivotal point in the schedule.  Alter, Carroll and CJ are all mathematically in contention for the 2012 league title and could face each other for a third time in the Division II tournament.

The Eagles have taken pride all season on “defense and discipline,” according to senior co-captain Tremayne Leonard. In victories, CJ has allowed opposing teams to score an average of less than 40 points per game.

“Anyone can win the GCL right now,” Leonard said. Victories against GCL South opponents St. Xavier and Elder have helped the Eagles’ cause, but will mean nothing if the team cannot close it out in February. CJ finishes the season with home games against McNicholas (Feb. 10), Moeller (Feb. 14) and Alter (Feb. 18 at Trent Arena) following Friday’s game at Carroll.

“Carroll is coming off a hot streak, and we have to get a win going into their place,” said fellow senior co-captain Aaron Lassalle. While CJ holds the longest winning streak of any team in the unpredictable GCL North this season, the Patriots are tough to beat at home, losing only two all year.

The difference-maker Friday night could be CJ’s experience playing in big games, said senior John Staley, co-captain. He helped lead the Eagles to a Flyin’ to the Hoop tournament victory (scoring a tournament-best 34 against Chilicothe), and a holiday tournament championship in West Virginia over the state’s 2011 runners-up.

“We’ve played a tough schedule, but I think it will pay off for us in the end,” he said.

The men's basketball postseason does not officially begin until the week of February 20; however, CJ will know its first-round opponent after the OHSAA sectional tournament draw on Sunday, Feb. 12 at 2 p.m.