Quinn Pemberton named MVP as Loyola boys basketball team three-peats in Florida: The Ramblers beat Covington Catholic (Park Hills, Kentucky) 48-28 on Sunday at Golden Gate High School in Naples, Florida, to capture the Kelleher Firm Gulfshore Holiday Hoopfest championship for the third time in three years. Loyola and Covington Catholic were the only two out-of-state teams in the 16-team field.
“No way are we a finished product, but we got better with every game we played,” Loyola head coach Tom Livatino said. “The biggest thing is that I saw us grow up. The guys are understanding the expectations and starting to follow through to meet them. We took a solid step in the right direction.”
Senior guard Quinn Pemberton earned MVP honors, following in the footsteps of Loyola graduates and former tournament MVPs Ramar Evans (Class of 2017) and Kevin Cunningham (Class of 2018).
“The tournament director told me we were the best defensive team that’s ever played here, and Quinn was our best defensive player,” Livatino said. “He also did a great job running the point. He’s not going to lead us in scoring, but he gets us going on the break and shares the ball well.”
Senior guard Connor Barrett was selected to the all-tournament first team for a second consecutive year. Junior forward Bennett Kwiecinski was named to the second team.
Livatino praised the play of seniors Ryan Evans, Chris Hughes and Nikko Landon. Juniors Matt Enghauser and Will Pujals were valuable contributors in the Ramblers’ run to the tournament title, according to Livatino.
“Chris was our unsung hero,” he said. “We have a lot depth. We are still figuring out a rotation, but we are getting close.”
The Ramblers advanced to the final with a 46-39 win over Community School (Naples, Florida). They opened the tournament by beating First Baptist Academy (Naples, Florida) 39-24 and followed with a 55-19 victory over Naples (Naples, Florida).
Loyola (11-4) set a tournament record by allowing an average of 27.5 points per game. The Ramblers held every one of their opponents to under their scoring average, including Kentucky’s defending state champion Covington Catholic. The Colonels, which came into the tournament averaging 64.7 points, scored a season-low 28.
“We are understanding what it means to have each other’s back,” Livatino said. “They started trusting and counting on each other more. The true measure of this tournament is how we come back and play the rest of the season.”
Celia Satter sets record, Loyola girls basketball team finishes fifth at holiday tournament: The Ramblers beat Norcross (Norcross, Georgia) 57-55 on Saturday at Gulf Coast High School to take fifth place at the Naples Holiday Shootout.
After losing to Nease (Ponte Verda, Florida) 60-52 in the first round, Loyola bounced back to beat Lehigh (Lehigh Acres, Florida) 74-41 in the consolation bracket.
In the win over Lehigh, senior guard and University of Richmond recruit Celia Satter set a program — and tournament — record with nine 3-pointers on her way to a career-best 35 points.