In Play with Tom Markowski

Loyola shows grit, determination in getting past Bishop Foley, 59-45

Basketball   | Tom Markowski

State Champs! Sports Network

Madison Heights – This could be Detroit Loyola’s season.

We recall the football team’s Division 7 title last November, the school’s first state title in any sport.

Strengthened by seven members from that team, the basketball team is creating a stir in Class C. The Bulldogs are the class of the Catholic League AA Division as they showed on Friday with a 59-45 victory over host Madison Heights Bishop Foley.

Ranked No. 4 in State Champs latest poll, Loyola (10-2) is 5-0 in the division and can clinch the title outright with a victory at Pontiac Notre Dame Prep.

Loyola has had good teams before but the Bulldogs have not fared well in the state tournament. They’ve won just two district titles since 2004 and Loyola has yet to reach a regional final.

Senior Harvey Caddell insists this team is different.

With seven seniors there is experience. But it’s more than that. There’s a cohesiveness, a team concept, if you will, that permeates through the nine-player rotation coach John Buscemi used on Friday.

Seven players scored, three in double figures led by freshman Pierre Mitchell with 19. Demarco Dickerson, a senior who’s being recruited by Albion, had 14 and Dequan Powell, a junior, had 10.

Five Bulldogs had five or more rebounds led by Powell with eight.

Loyola does its best work defensively. The Bulldogs forced 28 turnovers and held Bishop Foley (6-7, 3-3) to two points in the final 3:40.

“Defense is our calling card,” Buscemi said. “That’s how we create our easy baskets. The guys have really bought into that. My guys love to play defense.”

Strong defensive teams often win championships. It also takes selfless play. Players on this team are not out for themselves. Take Mitchell. He’s a point guard that looks to pass first, shoot second. He had just five points in the first half but when left open in the second he had the confidence to take the shot.

Buscemi said Caddell is his Dennis Rodman. Caddell had seven points and five rebounds but his contributions aren’t measured with statistics. Caddell does the dirty and he’s an enforcer. A receiver on the football team, Caddell signed with Saginaw Valley State on Wednesday.

“This team can go far,” Caddell said. “It’s just a matter of wanting it more.

“I like our guard play. They’re unselfish. Last year we had a lot of selfish seniors. We have a lot of good athletes. Defensively, it’s mainly trapping. There are a lot of open areas on the court but teams can’t get to them because we’re so quick.”