East St. John hauled a championship trophy from New Orleans back to its campus in Reserve on Saturday night. Now the Warriors, fresh off winning the CYO Tournament, will try to make it 2-for-2 this week when they play in the Newman Invitational Tournament.
East St. John, making its first appearance in the Newman Tournament, is one of 16 teams in the field of the tournament, which begins on Tuesday and ends on Saturday.
“The CYO Tournament is a great tournament, so we hope winning that carries some momentum into the Newman Tournament,” said East St. John coach Yussef Jasmine. “We know that this tournament is a little tougher than the CYO Tournament. We always talk about moments, and obviously winning the CYO was a big moment for us, but we aren’t done now. We try to look as tournaments as auditions for what it’s like to be in the playoffs. So we have that same attitude, it’s just tougher competition.”
East St. John (6-2), will try to keep its four-game winning streak going when it plays Jesuit on Tuesday at 6:30 p.m.
This year marks the 51st year of the tournament, which expanded to a 16-team format in 1985.
In addition to East St. John, Jesuit and host Newman, the tournament also includes local teams East Jefferson, Helen Cox, Country Day, McDonogh 35, Cohen, John Ehret, Hahnville, McMain, Karr and St. Augustine.
It also features Yarra Valley, a team from Melbourne, Australia. It is the second time the field has included a team from Australia.
“It’s an outstanding field with some really good teams and some really good coaches,” second-year Newman coach Jimmy Tillette said. “We try to play as tough a schedule as we can play. We want to play anybody that’s good and anybody that’s big. It’s just a good learning experience for us.”
The Greenies last won their own tournament in 1976, when they were led by standout point guard Sean Tuohy.
In recent years, the tournament perhaps could’ve been renamed the St. Augustine Invitational.
St. Aug is the defending tournament champion, and the Purple Knights have won the tournament five of the past six seasons. Charles Brown, who made the all-tournament team in the CYO Tournament last week, leads the Purple Knights.
East St. John defeated St. Aug 61-55 last week in the semifinals of the CYO Tournament before beating host Brother Martin in the title game.
East St. John point guard Tre’von Jasmine, the coach’s son, earned Most Valuable Player honors in that tournament and runs the Warriors’ offense. Troy Green also made the all-tournament team last week and is joined in the East St. John lineup by Arlandrian Martin, Javon Antonio and Anthony Steer.
“I love the humility of this team,” said Jasmine, a former player at Shaw. “And the makeup of this team is different than last year’s. The guard play has gotten better. Any championship team you see, the guard play is really solid.”
East St. John plays in one of four opening round games Tuesday.
Newman plays in one of four opening round games on Wednesday. The Greenies play McMain on Wednesday at 6:30 p.m.
Peter Drennan and point guard Cass Lapeyre are two of the leaders for Newman. Wyatt Mumfrey and Elbert Thomas, two standouts n the football team, will give Newman some athleticism.
Since 1981, the tournament Most Valuable Player award has been given in honor of “Skeets” Tuohy, the coach of the Greenies’ 1961, 1963, and 1964 state championship teams.