If you love youth basketball, it was a terrific few days last week as both the Blessed Trinity boys and girls basketball teams captured their respective All Catholic Conference championships with impressive performances.
While it marked the second such title for the boys, who won it in 2009, it was the first time the girls had ever won it and a rare “doubleheader sweep” for BTS hoops.
After head coach Rigo Labrada worked his magic with the girls team, leading the Lady Cougars through the regular season finishing first in the ACC (All Catholic Conference) Southern Division with an undefeated 8-0 record, they capped things off in style last Friday, Dec. 7. The BTS girls traveled to St. Patrick’s Catholic School in Miami Beach and smoked St. Hughes by a 35-6 final to lay claim to the title with an exclamation point.
Less than 24 hours later, head coach Mike Miehl took his boys squad over to same gym to take on the same school, St. Hughes, in their championship game and, thanks in part to Marcus Mijares, who led all scorers with 11 points, BTS came through with a 31-24 victory to win the title and finish with an 8-2 record.
“Just a terrific effort by all of my boys and I’m proud of all of them,” said Miehl, who is in his 10th year of handling BTS boys basketball after spending the previous 17 years coaching on the high school level at Horeb Christian in Hialeah and Miami Christian. “From being well-conditioned to the offensive and defensive preparation, we saw it all pay off and it was exciting to see the girls win as well. It’s good times for BTS hoops for sure.”
“If there is a better team in our small-school division I would love to play them,” said Labrada. “Because in the three years I’ve had the pleasure and honor to coach the BTS varsity and JV teams, I can’t recall ever seeing a team take care of business in the most dominant way possible that these girls have.”
Dominating would definitely be the word of choice. In their 10 games, including their two playoff wins, the BTS girls trailed one time all season, 2-0 in the first minute of a regular season meeting against St. John the Apostle, a game they would go on to win 24-14.
The defense was led by eighth-grade forwards Callie Figueroa and Kaitlyn Miller, while Labrada said his team leader was not even an eighth-grader. It was seventh-grader Daniela Diaz, who played point guard and led the team in regular season scoring, averaging 10 points per game.
“Kaitlyn (Miller) stepped up this year,” said Labrada. “She was such a force on defense and she also scored, which was a bonus and made us unstoppable when we played our special Cougar Package, a three-guard set, that put incredible pressure on the opposing offense and led to easy fast-break points.”
Other major contributors to the Lady Cougars cause were a pair of Karinas, Bermudez and Santin, along with center Juliana Labrada. Rounding out the roster were Natalie Verdiguel, Kristina Moya, Stephanie Delvalle, Emily Hirzel, Sophia Jaimes and Natalia Mijares.
Over on the boys side, Mijares certainly didn’t do it by himself.
“It was a total team effort if there ever was one,” said Miehl. “My other four starters were Alex Aloma, Michael LaFosgia, Austin Delgado and Cesar Frias, but my bench players also played a big role as well.”
Rounding out the boys roster were ALex Carillo, Carlos Villancercio, Jon Rodriguez, Jeremiah Diaz, Sebastian Pllasencia, Sebastian Ortiz, and twin brothers Matthew and Sam Hilelgo.