Source: Farmington Press
Author: Mike Moore
METRO DETROIT — His team was in, that much was certain.
But as far as where the Madison Heights Bishop Foley girls basketball team would be seeded, and just who it would play in the 2015 Catholic League playoffs, the snowstorm of last week prevented any of those answers from shaping up just yet.
“There’s still a lot to figure out,” Foley coach Dave Joseph said last week. His team was the top-seeded squad in the East Division but still had two games after press time to lock up the No. 1 seed and first-round bye for the playoffs. “Our mentality now and in the playoffs has to be taking it all one game at a time, and that’s what we’ll do.”
That’s what most teams will do when the league postseason kicks off for the A-B Division and C-D Division tournaments, Feb. 14.
“The league playoffs give everyone that makes it a second chance to be a champion,” Joseph said about what makes the tournament so special. “You have your division titles out there, but every team that doesn’t do that but makes it still has a chance to win the league.”
That was exactly what Foley did a year ago.
The Ventures had to fight just to finish third in the final standings, but then caught fire and rolled to their first league title since 1998.
“It’s a do-or-die situation, so it’s very intense,” Joseph said. His squad was 10-4 overall at press time and 6-2 in East Division play. “It’s a step up from the division games you’ve been playing.”
“As a team, you have your goals every season, and one of them is to win the Catholic League title,” said Birmingham Marian coach Mary Cicerone. “Usually, they’re quality games every time out.”
Cicerone and Marian lost to Farmington Hills Mercy in the 2014 A-B Division final.
The year before, Marian won the title, and Cicerone called the championship “a mini state title.”
“It’s very much like a state tournament, and everyone wants to win,” Cicerone said. Her squad will be the No. 1 seed in the A-B tournament, sitting with a 13-1 record at press time and a 7-0 mark in the Central Division. “You have that same kind of mental approach. And you want to play in the final game, and then have a chance to play the winner of the (Public School League) in the Friendship Game (at a later date).”
“You’re going to see a good team, no matter what,” said Mercy coach Gary Morris. The Marlins were 11-4 overall and 4-3 in the Central. “There’s such good competition in this league, and it creates a great atmosphere when it’s win or go home.”
Seeds for both tournaments were still not final at press time.
On Feb. 14, the A-B tournament will begin at Riverview Gabriel Richard with four quarterfinal games.
The semifinals are set for Feb. 18 at Novi Detroit Catholic Central, with the final set for 3 p.m. Feb. 22 at Calihan Hall at the University of Detroit Mercy.
In the C-D Division, only two quarterfinal games are played Feb. 14 at Gabriel Richard.
The semifinals are set for Feb. 17 at Warren De La Salle, with the final at 1 p.m. Feb. 22 at Calihan.
Playing well in the league playoffs can also provide a boost for the state tournament, which begins shortly afterward.
“I think there is a direct relation in the schedule we play, and in the playoff system, to the fact we’ve won seven districts in nine years,” Joseph added. “We feel like we’ve played some top competition all year long. And if you’re able to win the league, you go into the state playoffs with that status of being a champ. It gives you a big lift.”
“It certainly prepares you,” Morris said. His Mercy team parleyed a Catholic League title to a run to the semifinals in Class A, before falling to Marian, the eventual state champ.
The boys Catholic League playoffs get underway Feb. 21. The final game is March 1 at Calihan Hall.