St. Thomas of Villanova Catholic School in Palatine hosted the Northwest Catholic Conference 8th Grade Boys Basketball Tournament, where eight teams faced off in a thrilling, bracket-style competition that kept fans on the edge of the bleachers.
Under the direction of Head Coach Todd Hill and Assistant Coaches Matt Hamilton and and Mike Nix, the St. Thomas of Villanova 8th Grade Vikings defeated Quest Academy 51-39 in game one of the tournament and conquered St. Gilbert’s 46-38 in game two, pitting them against the St. Hubert Knights in the final game on Saturday, December 15th.
The Vikings started the final game strong when Michael Nix (#24) scored the first points of the game with a three-pointer, followed by two subsequent three-point shots by Tony Iliopoulos (#19) and Andrew Jordan (#28), respectively. The score remained extremely close for the first half of the game, as neither team allowed their opponent a solid lead. St. Hubert’s eventually took the lead in the second half, however, and the Vikings won 2nd place after a hard-fought battle, with the final score 62-41.
Hill, who coached this same group of boys to win the 7th grade Northwest Conference Championship last year, noted that speed is one of his team’s best assets.
“We have many Cross-Country runners on our team, and it’s made a huge difference,” he said of his 8th grade roster, which, in addition to the aforementioned players, also includes Kyle Bargowski (#34), Joey Bowling (#21), Sammy Hamilton (#20), Aaron Hardy (#35), Aiden Hill (#31), Logan Hill (#25) and Tyler Quinn (#15).
At tournament end, after all Vikings accepted individual medals and the second-place trophy, St. Thomas of Villanova Athletic Director Jenny Parlier announced Michael Nix as the tournament MVP.
Parlier said this is the third year the school has hosted the tournament, which was open to both conference and non-conference teams, and also included St. Raymond’s, Trinity Oaks and Immanuel Lutheran.
As the basketball season continues through February, the Vikings will no doubt gain momentum from this well-played tournament, as well as continue to hone their skills in hopes of a repeat from last season.
“Our goals for the rest of the season are to play tighter as a team and work on passing quickly,” explained Hill.
St. Thomas of Villanova Catholic School serves students in preschool through 8th grade and offers no cut sports programming beginning in fourth grade. The school is located at 1141 E. Anderson Drive Palatine, IL 60074. For more information, call (847) 358-2110 or visit the school’s new user-friendly website, www.stvschool.org