Photo courtesy of Bishop Loughlin High School.
By David Cordova
Every year in the CHSAA, there’s always teams that are going to be on their A-game at all times and will leave nothing to chance, whether it is during the regular season or playoff time.
This season, one team that has been very dominant from the beginning of the season to the present date, has been the Bishop Loughlin Lions. The program based out of the Catholic school on Clermont Avenue in the Fort Greene section of Brooklyn has been very impressive this season, but things will only get better for them as the city playoffs start this week.
“We’ve got a few goals, the first is to win the Brooklyn/Queens [diocesan] championship, of course, then to win the city championship and then the state championship. I mean, we’ve got goals and hopefully, we accomplish them,” said Ed Gonzalez, who is in his 10th season as the head coach of the Lions.
The Lions started out the season on a 15-game win streak, beating teams such as CHSAA powers St. Raymond’s and Christ the King and PSAL Brooklyn powerhouse Thomas Jefferson and ran through the competition at events such as Slam Dunk to the Beach in Lewes, Delaware and the Sugar Bowl National Prep Classic in Westwego, Louisiana.
When asked if he was shocked about the team’s success at the time, Gonzalez replied, “Absolutely not, not at all. I think that we’re a veteran team and we learned a lot from last year’s experiences and this carried over into this year.”
Currently, the Lions are 22-3 on the season, and 13-3 in the Brooklyn/Queens diocese. The keys to their success are Julian Champagnie and Justin Champagnie, twin brothers that are 6-foot-6 forwards and are the leading scorers for the Lions. They also hold a bevy of Division I scholarships from colleges around the country.
But also, there are some other talents on the team in 6-foot-1 senior shooting guard Tyshawn High, 5-foot-7 junior point guard Taj Chiles, 6-foot-4 senior shooting guard Jaheim Young, 6-foot-4 junior forward Christopher Peters, 6-foot-7 senior forward Adam Logan-Tobierre and 5-foot-6 junior point guard Maurice Doby.
“We have quite a few players that can make an impact and some guys that come off the bench that are pretty good, actually,” said Gonzalez.
On Friday night at Christ the King, the Lions accomplished their first goal in winning the Brooklyn/Queens Diocesan championship with a 61-49 victory over Xaverian, another tough team in the league.
Now, with their next game being in the CHSAA quarterfinals on Sunday, March 3rd at Fordham University’s Rose Hill Gym in The Bronx, the Lions will make an attempt to win their first city championship since 1992, when the Lions had players such as Selden Jefferson, who went to play at West Virginia and Sherwin Anderson, who played at Xavier.
In this decade, playing in the city championship hasn’t been kind to the Lions. In 2010, 2013 and 2014, they lost to Christ the King in the title game. In 2016, they made another appearance in the title game, only to lose to Xaverian.
At the present time, the message is simple: the Lions plan on winning and winning it all. At this point, it’s all or nothing for the Lions.
As they wait for their next opponent, Gonzalez talked about what’s next for the team, “Just focus on the next game, that’s all. Practice and get better and what we want to do is prepare for the next game, that’s all.”