Ramblers recognized by Catholic League: Loyola senior Kevin Cunningham and Loyola head coach Tom Livatino each earned high honors by the conference.
A guard and captain, Cunningham was one of six players — only senior — from a pool of 18 teams selected to the all-Catholic League team. He’s the second Rambler in a row to receive the distinction. Ramar Evans (Class of 2017) made the team last season.
Cunningham leads Loyola in points per game (12.8), assists (3.1), steals (1.0), total charges taken (17) and is second in rebounds (3.3). He’s 79-for-192 (41.1 percent) from 3-point range.
Fenwick sophomore guard DJ Steward, one of the top state’s top guards in the Class of 2020, was selected as the Catholic Blue’s Lawless Award winner.
For leading Loyola to a 22-6 record in the regular season and a tie for second in the Catholic Blue at 5-3, Livatino was named the Catholic Blue’s Lawless Award. He won it in 2014.
Livatino refused to recognize it as an individual honor. Instead, he praised the support system around him, including assistant coaches Michael Sneed, Chris Braier, Todd Gierke, Aaron Hamilton, Paul Pryma and Father Peter Breslin.
“Any award I get is because of our coaching staff, which is the best in the country, our players and our parents,” he said. “I don’t do this by myself.”
Senior forward and captain Pete Mangan (pictured above) and junior guard Connor Barrett both were picked to the all-Catholic Blue team.
Defense rules regular season: The Ramblers pride themselves on punishing offenses, and the statistics showed that was the case during the regular season.
Opponents averaged 37.6 points a game and shot 35.7 percent from the field. The most points Loyola allowed to one team was 50. The Ramblers beat St. Patrick 37-11 on the road Jan. 30.
The Ramblers averaged 16.3 deflections and 2.9 charges. In the final game of the regular, a 73-25 win over Steinmetz, they totaled 26 deflections and eight charges. Senior forward Patrick Russell took five charges, the most by any Rambler in one game this season.
Cunningham chooses University of St. Thomas: After attending his first Tommies game Feb. 17, Cunningham gave the program his commitment the same day. St. Thomas finished the season 14-12, losing in the quarterfinals of the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. The Tommies won the Division III national title in 2016.
“I really like the culture,” he said. “It’s a gritty program of hard-working players. The school itself is a good size for me. I think I will like the community.”
Ramblers open postseason Tuesday: The No. 4 seed at the Class 4A Maine East Sectional, Loyola plays No. 14 Hersey in the regional semifinals at Maine South. The Huskies (10-17) beat No. 20 Von Steuben 58-55 in overtime Monday. No. 5 Maine South (21-7) plays No. 12 Niles West (12-13) in the other regional semifinal.
The regional final is Friday.
Photo credit: Melissa Krein/Loyola