The CYO boys basketball team of St. Martin de Porres School in Philadelphia won the state championship tournament April 3 in Erie. The Saints, representing the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, bested the champions from the state’s other seven dioceses.
Some 475 students, waving pompoms and placards, will gather in a victory parade to honor the team at 10 a.m. on Thursday, April 21 near the school along 2300 West Lehigh Avenue in North Philadelphia.
The victory celebration featuring the Philadelphia 76ers drumline will culminate in a formal program in the school auditorium ending at 11 a.m. Notable Philadelphians, including Mayor Jim
Kenney, are anticipated to attend.
The Saints did not seem to be likely contenders for a championship. For starters, St. Martin de Porres, an Independence Mission School located in North Philadelphia, doesn’t even have a gymnasium. The boys honed their skills using a portable basketball hoop in the school’s auditorium and played together in the school yard during lunch, in practices and competitive games at other city schools. And just a few weeks before the state championship tournament, the Saints lost their starting center to an injury.
Despite the setbacks, St. Martin de Porres handily defeated St. Elizabeth of Allentown, 53-41, in the tourney’s first round Friday, April 1, after driving nearly eight hours in a bus earlier the same day. The Saints then beat St. Clare/St. Paul from the Scranton Diocese with a 55-45 win, thanks to a fourth quarter rally.
In the final game, the St. Martin de Porres defeated the Pittsburgh Diocese’s St. Bernadette, 53-41. Shortly after winning, the team boarded their bus just before 7 p.m. and arrived back in Philadelphia at 1:40 a.m.
Like all students at St. Martin de Porres, the boys took to heart their school’s principle, “Stand Up and Stand Out,” both on and off the court.
Located in one of the most economically depressed and crime-ridden areas of North Philadelphia, St. Martin de Porres School has served poor and minority families for over 100 years under the guidance of the Sisters of St. Joseph. Ninety-nine percent of the school’s 400 students are African American, and many come from families living below the poverty line.
Join the CatholicPhilly.com family
CatholicPhilly.com works to strengthen the connections between people, families and communities every day by delivering the news people need to know about the Catholic Church, especially in the Philadelphia region, and the world in which we live.
By your donation in any amount, you and hundreds of other people become part of our mission to inform, form in the Catholic faith and inspire the thousands of readers who visit every month.
Here is how you can help:
- A $100 gift allows us to present award-winning photos of Catholic life in our neighborhoods.
- A $50 gift enables us to cover a news event in a local parish, school or Catholic institution.
- A $20 gift lets us obtain solid faith formation resources that can deepen your spirituality and knowledge of the faith.
- A small, automated monthly donation means you can support us continually and easily.
Won't you consider making a gift today?
Please join in the church's vital mission of communications by offering a gift in whatever amount that you can ― a single gift of $40, $50, $100, or more, or a monthly donation. Your gift will strengthen the fabric of our entire Catholic community and sustain CatholicPhilly.com as your trusted news source. Thank you in advance!
Make your donation by credit card here:
Or make your donation by check:
222 N. 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103
PREVIOUS: Catholic League spring sports standings
NEXT: Strong pitching puts Malvern Prep, 17-1, atop league
Go St. Martin de Pores. I pray to Our Blessed Mother for your school every day. I sent Sister Catherine one a coupe of years ago. I lost mine in Fl. It blew away and a cleaning lady picked it up but did not return it to the desk. Now I use the Blessed Mother to replace it along with one decade of the rosary. I am retired and have no funds for the students any more BUT I can pray for them. I know Saint Martin and the Blessed Mother are happy. Keep up the good work Love & prayers Mr. Paul Rucker