The boys basketball team at St. Jerome School in Westchester captured third place in the Catholic Youth Organization (CYO) boys basketball tournament at the Staples Center.

The third-place finish by the boys team came just three weeks after the St. Jerome girls team won the CYO Championship at the Staples Center.

After an impressive run through the regular season, the Spartans boys team earned the number-one seed in the CYO tournament, which included the top 64 teams from over 200 Catholic schools in the Los Angeles Archdiocese.

The Spartans moved through their bracket with convincing victories until their Final Four loss to eventual champion Holy Trinity of San Pedro. But the Spartans rebounded from the tough loss to face St. Francis Xavier for the third-place trophy.

After the Spartans went into halftime with a three-point lead, they pulled away after halftime with strong defense and led by double digits for the remainder of the game. St. Jerome eighth-grader Justin Childress led all scorers with 28 points.

“Coming back to play after such a tough first loss over the weekend is a real challenge,” St. Jerome coach Rick Billups said. “However, every single player on this team made the commitment to come to Staples Center and finish the year with a win.

“It was great to see every player get out on the court compete — and succeed.”

Following last year’s team, which reached the Elite 8 and finished with a record of 22-4, this year’s squad finished the season with a school-record 30-1 mark, including championships at the St. Anthony’s Tournament, St. Matthias Tournament, St. Jerome/IHOP Tournament, Sacred Heart Tournament and back-to-back league titles.

The 2007-08 St. Jerome team includes Justin Childress, Tochi Oti, Eric Marrero, Braxton Haggood, Chris O’Quinn, Lorenzo Gillenwater-Sanchez, Cameron Hall, Ryan Ford, Blake Dupart, Warren Wright, Myles Thomas, and Zachary Rogers.

Team coaches are Rick Billups, Randy Billups and Philip Noyes.

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