Star Quarterback Shines on the Basketball Court

Star Quarterback Shines on the Basketball Court for Newman
Posted on 02/05/2024

By Larry Moko

The star quarterback of St. John Henry Newman’s senior high school football team also realizes the importance of defence whenever he plays basketball for the Cardinals.

Lucas Barresi is a starting power forward on the court who handles much of the grunt work under the basket.

Against the Bishop Ryan Celtics on Friday, Barresi led the team in rebounding and chipped in offensively with a game-high 12 points to help the visiting Cardinals to a 53-35 victory.
That outcome improved second-place Newman’s record in the Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic standings to 11-2. The Celtics, in sixth spot, slipped to 4-9.

“Lucas did a great job,” Newman coach Andrew Sergi said. “I’m proud of him because in basketball he knows his role and accepts it.

“He does all the hard work we need done. He gets rebounds, sets screens and defends well. That’s a testament to him as a player and as a person.”

It’s somewhat unusual that a quarterback has the physical stature to be able to go up against the “bigs” of basketball. But at 6-foot-4, 195 pounds, Barresi can handle it.
“As a quarterback in football,” Sergi said, “Lucas knows everything runs through him. But in basketball, it’s the point guard’s responsibility. Lucas still has a very important role and does it to the best of his ability.”

Barresi – soon to decide on which university football offer to accept -- has been playing that sport for eight years. In comparison, he only took up basketball in Grade 9.
Newman’s other starting power forward -- Nick Garcia -- suffered ankle injury in the second quarter and did not return. That put added responsibility on Barresi.

“When Nick went down I knew as a veteran I had to step up,” Barresi said. “I like to compete. I think my voice and the way I play on the court gets the team going at times.”

Garcia, Alex DiFrancesco and Markus Palermo all caught passes from Barresi on the gridiron last season and the foursome went on to capture the 2023 Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic basketball title.

Said Barresi: “Football is a little different for sure. You wouldn’t imagine I play quarterback the way I play basketball sometimes.”

Enoch Babatunde contributed nine points for Newman, which led 15-5, 24-8 and 36-16 at the quarter breaks. Nick Burke and Palermo scored eight points apiece while DiFrancesco netted seven.

For the Celtics, Antonio Salinas and Matthew Santino accounted for 13 and 10 points, respectively.

“Our defence in the first half was some of the best we’ve ever played,” the Newman coach said. “To hold a team to eight points in a half is a testament to how willing our guys are to being engaged on the defensive end. They take pride in playing good defence and commit to it. It’s something that we as coaches stress.”

Newman also topped Bishop Ryan 54-44 in the last game before the exam break 10 days ago. And that, according to Celtics coach Mike DiClaudio, was a much better performance by his team.

“Today, we came out flat,” DiClaudio said. “We couldn’t score. We were shooting air balls. We got mentally frustrated and even in the second half we couldn’t get a rhythm going.

“They definitely out-rebounded us all game which hurt us.”

DiClaudio said a bright spot has been the development of Grade 11 players Adam Adili, Santino and point guard Salinas.

“Antonio is starting now,” DiClaudio said. “He’s earned it. He works hard and is a great shooter. He’s got the heart of a champion.”

All teams have one game remaining in the regular schedule. Quarter-final playoffs begin Feb. 8.


Photos by Bob Butrym, RFB Sport Photography

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