PAWTUCKET — The St. Martha’s Church Boys’ Cadet Basketball team captured the CYO Catholic Athletic League state championship with a 63-51 victory over SS Rose & Clement of Warwick at St. Raphael Academy Saturday, March 9.
St. Martha’s broke open a 31-31 tie at halftime and at one point led by 18 before SS Rose & Clement hit two late three pointers to narrow the gap. The Cadets’ outstanding defense in the second half proved to be the difference in the game.
The scoring for St. Martha’s was paced by 18 points from DeVante Rose and 13 by Kyle Vieira. The team’s guards J.C. Santos and Marcus McCarthy did a great job running the offense. Zack Veiga played well inside and Brandon Thomas contributed 10 points off the bench.
St. Martha’s began their season by losing two of its first three games. They did not lose again, winning 14 straight games to not only win the championship but also finish first in its division. In December the team won the Team Providence Holiday Classic. The staples for St. Martha’s all year long were its quickness and fast break style coupled with a strong man-to-man defense.
Playing in a ninth and 10th grade league, the Cadets featured nine freshmen and one sophomore. Nine of the players attend East Providence High School and one attends LaSalle Academy. Rose, Santos, Vieira and Veiga played for the junior varsity team at EP this season while Thomas, Derek Geiger and Cameron Almeida played for the freshman team. Brandon Couto and Devin DeOliveira rounded out the E.P. contingent. McCarthy was the starting point guard on the LaSalle freshman team which won the state championship. (Two former St. Martha’s players also played on this team – Jace Pena and Elijah McLean.)
The Cadets will finish their season by playing in the Allyson Gibree Memorial Tournament to be held March 20-24. St. Martha’s will also be fielding a Girls’ Grammar team in this event. All money raised from the tournament will be donated to The Tomorrow Fund.