MANTENO — The St. Joe’s Basketball League wrapped up its second season at the outdoor courts nearby St. Joseph Catholic Church in Manteno on Sunday.
The summer-long pickup league culminated with a 43-40 win for Nick Crowe and the Bruisers. Crowe accounted for just less than half of the squad’s scoring with a 21-point effort and knocked down the game-winner from long range to ice the first-to-42-points victory.
He was joined by Robbie Wesselhoff, Connor Shepard, Gavin Zimbelman and Joey Rudish in the win.
Wesselhoff pitched in a healthy amount of buckets for the Bruisers, and Shepard and Rudish chipped in with a handful of clutch two-pointers from beyond the arc. Zimbelman played excellent defense on their opponent’s most dangerous scorer, Eric DeRossett.
DeRossett narrowly edged past Crowe to secure a spot as the afternoon’s leading scorer. He notched 23 of his team’s 40 points in the loss.
“We have 10 games in our regular season with 10 teams in two divisions and play everyone once,” Crowe said of Manteno’s comprehensive pick-up league. “It feels good to win it. We lost our first game of the season by one point to Harry Crawford’s team, and we haven’t lost since. We’ve really been on a roll.
“We knew going into it we had the best defender in the league [in Gavin Zimbelman] and that he was going to make it a point to slow down the St. Joe’s legend, Eric DeRossett,” he added with a laugh. “He did a stellar job for us with that.”
The championship finale was followed by the inaugural SJBL Season Celebration Picnic, thanks to support from the St. Joe’s and from the Samuel R. Myers Foundation for Suicide and Mental Health Awareness.
The post-game event featured more pickup basketball, a cookout and a bags tournament for attendees with much of the proceeds going to the Samuel R. Myers Foundation.
“To celebrate the end of the season, we invited family and friends out and got some games set up for people,” said SJBL commissioner Kyle Brazeau. “I just want to thank the Sam Meyers Foundation for being so generous in helping us out, and I also want to thank Harry Crawford for being the main person to arrange so much of what we were able to do this year.
“This is the second season, but for probably 10-plus years, we’ve been coming here and playing regular pickup games,” he added. “Last year, we had the idea to organize it a bit more and turn it into a bit bigger of a thing. We’re very happy with how things went this year.”
The Samuel R. Myers Foundation for Suicide and Mental Health Awareness is a registered nonprofit organization located in Manteno. For more in formation, go to sammyersfoundation.com.