Detroit defends ACYOA basketball title

The Detroit ACYOA seniors chapter of St. John’s took to the road hoping for consecutive men’s basketball championships for the first time since 1982-83. In the end, a 72-57 victory in the championship game over Bayside (Holy Martyrs) brought back home a new championship trophy and the Babayan Cup.

The ACYOA General Assembly and National Sports Weekend was held Memorial Day Weekend in Chicago. Eight teams opened up group play, including two teams from Detroit. A youthful Detroit 1st team lost their first two games before defeating Toronto. However, based on overall record they were eliminated.

The veteran Detroit 2nd team opened the tournament against Watertown (St. James) and prevailed, 76-54. Two additional wins against Boca Raton (St. David) and Chicago (St. Gregory) pushed Detroit into the championship round as the highest-ranked team. Bayside (Holy Martyrs), Watertown, and a regional team also advanced past the group stage.

In the semi-finals, Detroit defeated a Midwest regional team (Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin) by a 20-point margin. Meanwhile, in a game that went down to the wire, Bayside defeated Watertown, 64-61, to set up an anticipated final game. The two most successful chapters in the history of the ACYOA basketball tournament, Bayside [11 championships] and Detroit [10], met for the year’s bragging rights. Bayside and Detroit met prior to the championship game the last two years, with Detroit prevailing on both occasions.

The 2012 edition featured a back-and-forth competitive first half. Detroit was able to sustain a fast-paced attack in the second half and increase their one-point halftime lead to as high as 20 points.  Isaiah Dahlman (Braham, Minn./Michigan State) led the way for Detroit with a flurry of layups and free throws throughout the final game. Jon Banks, Brandon Cassise, Dan Dardarian, Johnny Jillian, Joe Kassis, Ara Kaypekian, Stan Patterson and Shaunt Vanerian also contributed greatly throughout the tournament to lift Detroit to a perfect 5-0 record.

Notably, this Detroit team has a 14-1 record over the past three years.

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