Despite 13 second-half points from star senior David Lovitz, Catlin Gabel could not hold off the hard-charging Rainier Columbians at the Miller Swigert Gymnasium during last Thursday’s varsity basketball contest.
Lovitz and fellow senior Ben Shmulevsky were both honored before the game with brief speeches. The loss was the final game of the season for the Eagles.
Catlin looked like it was headed for its second league victory in three games entering the fourth quarter with an 11-point lead. The Columbians, though, had other ideas, scoring 19 fourth quarter points including five three-pointers, and eventually taking the lead away for good with just over 20 seconds remaining.
The loss felt painfully familiar to most of the Catlin basketball players. Until the February 1 overtime win against Corbett, Catlin had gone 0-14 in league play. The season proved a major test for both the players and coaches.
“This year I learned a lot from these kids,” head coach Brandon Haughton said. “No matter how much adversity we go through they’re gonna keep fighting.”
The lessons learned this season may serve the Eagles well next year. The Eagles return every starter except for Lovitz, including junior Chris Belluschi, who had a team high 15 points against the Columbians.
Disappointment aside, the night was primarily reserved for the celebration of the departing seniors.
“Ben and David are like pioneers to the program.” Haughton said. “Ben Shmulevsky’s one … kid that you gotta look up to.”
Shmulevsky spent three years playing JV basketball for the Eagles before landing on varsity in his final season.
“This has been the best season of basketball I’ve ever played,” Shmulevsky said in a post-game interview. “Working hard to make it to varsity, it was all worth it this off-season. I’m never gonna forget … I’m just gonna miss the ride.”
While Haughton was proud of Shmulevsky’s performance in his first career start, the night also belonged to Lovitz
“He’s given everything he had,” said Haughton. “Being one of the last four-year varsity players on the team, he’s grown so much, taking care of the basketball, not turning it over, making his shots … he came a long way.”
“He’s the man,” Shmulevsky added. “He does everything. He sets the tone for the team. He’s the example we all try to emulate on the court everyday. It’s been an honor to play with him.”
Lovitz himself viewed the journey as a much longer one. “I’ve been around this program since back when Quincy was coaching while I was in 5th grade,” Lovitz reminisced. “I will definitely miss all of the coaches, players, and fans that make playing at CG so special.”
Looking to the future, Lovitz is optimistic: “CG is definitely headed in the right direction. I’m excited to come back and watch the team next year.”
“The kids just really believe in the program and not quitting, giving everything they got,” Haughton commented. “This season’s probably one of the best seasons I’ve had as a coach.”