Gainesville’s local boys basketball season is indeed in full swing. Thursday night will feature a non-conference rivalry game between the St. Francis Catholic Wolves (13-6) and the hosting Oak Hall Eagles (8-11).
The last meeting between these two teams saw the Wolves handle business at home, routing Oak Hall 70-35. Needless to say, the Eagles are looking for an upset at home tonight.
St. Francis comes into this game with an edge, likely because they are led by a familiar face to the local scene: Billy Donovan III.
Following in his Father’s Footsteps
A former Gator basketball player and assistant coach at Trinity Catholic High School, Donovan provides a wealth of basketball experience to his young players.
According to Donovan, his love of coaching came during his time at UF where he played under his father Billy Donovan from 2013-14. Donovan says the education he received at Florida helped him find his passion for serving others. As a high school teacher and basketball coach, Donovan has the unique opportunity to impact local youth everyday.
As far as him team goes, Donovan says the Wolves are stacked with talent and led by senior forwards Rodney Robinson and Brayton Cauchon. Donovan also says his players have created a culture within the locker room, and they’re always willing to work hard to get better.
— SFCA Wolves (@sfcawolves) December 17, 2016
Despite winning the past two meetings against the Eagles, Donovan respects Oak Hall head coach Monte Towe, who served as an assistant coach for Florida from 1980-1989. Towe has similar sentiments about Donovan and his players, noting that the Wolves have played hard this season.
Towe is somewhat of a basketball legend because he’s credited as an inventor of the almighty alley-oop. In fact, he’s even featured in the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame.
In tonight’s game, both coaches will look to build on their season with a win. Donovan’s Wolves are technically better on the road than at home, posting a 5-1 away record. Meanwhile, Towe’s Eagles have managed a 5-4 record at home this season. In order to secure an upset victory, Oak Hall must play sound defense. They’ll also be looking to score efficiently when they have offensive opportunities.
The Wolves average 66 points per game, compared to Oak Hall’s 51. Therefore, a low-scoring matchup would favor the Eagles tonight.