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Eagles Stun Calumet Christian to Win Patriot Classic

Back row L to R: Josiah Bestler, Cameron Latour, Stephen Bestler, Cody Blan, Josiah Blan; Front row L to R: Josh Martisek, Caleb Blan, Brandon Cline, Travis Barr; Not Pictured: Vincent Dorantes, Cody Kern
Back row L to R: Josiah Bestler, Cameron Latour, Stephen Bestler, Cody Blan, Josiah Blan; Front row L to R: Josh Martisek, Caleb Blan, Brandon Cline, Travis Barr; Not Pictured: Vincent Dorantes, Cody Kern
The last time Families of Faith participated in the Patriot Winter Classic basketball tournament was early in the third year of their program. They made a very quick exit that weekend.

Their return to the Patriot Winter Classic went much better. The Eagles opened play Friday night against Charter School of the Dunes (CSD). The Eagles entered the game having struggled from the field their last two contests and got off to a slow start in this one. The Eagles shot just 5 of 20 from the field in the first quarter, but managed to lead 11-10 at the end.

The Eagles began finding their shots in the second quarter going 7 of 15, paced by Josiah Blan's 4 of 5 from the field to pull out to a 28-21 halftime lead. Josiah and Cody Blan accounted for all of the Eagles scoring in the third quarter as the Eagles stretched their lead to 14 at the end of three.

CSD rallied some in the fourth quarter, but the Eagles held them off to hang on to a 50-41 win.

Saturday morning the Eagles squared off against the host school, Calumet Christian. The Eagles started fast hitting 50% from the field in the first quarter and getting scoring production from 5 different players in the quarter to lead 16-14 at the end of one.

Both teams traded baskets and shot well from the field in the second quarter. Josiah Blan scored 10 of his 29 in the second quarter and the Eagles got solid production from Vincent Dorantes with 6 points and 5 rebounds in the second quarter. Calumet outscored the Eagles though 23-20 in the quarter to grab a 37-36 halftime lead.

The rapid scoring pace continued in the third quarter. Blan and Dorantes continued to be the scoring leaders and kept the Eagles strong on the boards, but the Eagles still trailed at the end of three 59-54.

The Eagles never could find the long range shots in the fourth quarter and their rally never could get real traction as Calumet pulled away to a 79-68 win.

Next up for the Eagles was another South Shore Christian Conference foe, Homeschool Resource Center (HSRC). The Eagles jumped out quick in this one.

Led by Vincent Dorantes who continued his dominance on the boards and Cody Blan with 7 points each, the Eagles raced out to a 22-12 first quarter lead.

But, the one thing that was different, was the Eagles began to find their three point shot. The Eagles kept the scoring pressure up in the second quarter and Cody Blan hit both of his three point attempts, the Eagles shot 67% from the arc in the second quarter to lead at halftime 38-21.

The Eagles continued to hit the long shots in the third quarter, Brandon Cline hit his and Cody Blan another one as the Eagles hit 40% for the third quarter and now had hit 5 of their 11 three point attempts.

The Eagles emptied the bench a little in the fourth quarter to start resting starters for the championship game and held on to knock off HSRC by the final of 71-58.

The championship game against Calumet would be an instant classic had it been televised. The Eagles came in not only having lost the first game with Calumet, but also being down two starters who had to go to the ER for treatment of injuries.

But others stepped up. Brandon Cline started hot scoring 11 of his team high 18 points in the first quarter including two put backs off of offensive rebounds and two three pointers. The hot start from Cline spurred the Eagles to a 19-7 lead at the end of the first quarter.

The second quarter was physical and the two teams traded baskets. At the end the Eagles led 29-16 at halftime.

Calumet caught fire in the third quarter behind 7 points from Matt Leo to pull Calumet to within 6 at the end of three.

Calumet continued their surge early in the fourth quarter and when Matt Leo hit a three with about 3 minutes left, the Patriots took their first lead of the game 43-42. The Eagles rallied though with balanced production and Cline's free throw with 5.3 seconds left sealed a 50-46 win and the championship of the 39th annual Patriot Winter Classic.

For the tournament Cody Blan was named as honorable mention to the all-tournament team. Blan scored 63 points in the four games and added 18 boards, 12 steals and 18 18 assists for the tournament.

Josiah Blan was named tournament MVP. He tallied 84 points, 54 rebounds, 18 blocked shots, 11 steals and 16 assists in the tournament.

The Eagles play next on Friday, Jan 17 when they host Gary Lighthouse College Prep.

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