2011 Top 28 Honorees

The LHSAA honored two former Crusader coaches during the Top 28 tournament in Lafayette March 12, 2011. The text below is from news releases with some additional info in italics particular to St. Aloysius and Brother Martin.

Johnny Altobello

He's got a legendary name in the New Orleans area and the titles to back it up. Altobello's career record was 589-92 at St. Aloysius and De La Salle, including eight state championships, three state runner-up finishes, once a state semifinalist, 16 district titles and 18 tournament titles.

Altobello was selected to coach the South team at the annual North-South All-Star Game in Murray, Ky., in 1949 and 1953, winning both games.

Johnny coached at Aloysius from 1947-1952. He won basketball state championships in 1947, 1949 (undefeated), and 1952. He won state in baseball in 1949 and 1952. His career in either sport by itself would qualify him for the Hall of Fame.

Andy Russo

As a high school player, Russo was an All-State selection out of Fortier High. He then signed with the USL Bulldogs and earned second-team All-Gulf States Conference honors during his career there from 1961-3. Russo later transferred to Central Florida JC where he led the nation in scoring at 28 points per game.

As a high school coach at Fatima, St. Aloysius, and Brother Martin, Russo had a 252-48 career record. His teams made the Top 20 five times, winning two state titles, twice being in the state finals and winning one national championship.

Andy coached the last two Aloysius teams (1967-9), making the state finals in '69. He then coached the first four Brother Martin squads (1970-3), winning state in '70 (undefeated) and '71. His clashes with Altobello's Cavalier squads provided fans with prep basketball at the highest level.

>Coach Johnny Altobello
Johnny Altobello

Coach Andy Russo
Andy Russo
Gift from the Mayor

Times-Picayune article Sunday, November 28, 1937:

New Athletic Time Clock, Electrically Controlled, Given Aloysius by Mayor
Ultra-Modern Mechanism Is Last Word in Accuracy; Many Features Make It Outstanding

A new athletic time clock for basketball games will be used at the new $45,000 St. Aloysius gymnasium. The clock, costing in the neighborhood of $350, was donated to the St. Aloysius College by Mayor Robert S. Maestri and is the only one of its kind in this section.

The clock works somewhat on the same principle as the new electric clocks that are used at Tulane, Loyola, and L.S.U. football games, although it is much smaller and, in addition to showing the time left to play, will afford the spectators who come in late a chance to see what quarter the game is in.

The clock, besides having its timing apparatus, has a place for each quarter and an electrical scoring device.

At the end of each quarter, the quarters completed will be lighted one minute before each quarter is over. The entire board will be lighted and will remain lighted until one minute after the quarter is over.

The clock cannot be pushed back. Once it starts it will have to be let run until the full time is out.

The clock will be used for the first time when the St. Aloysius varsity and the alumni play their annual game in the opening contest in the new gymnasium some time in December.

St. Aloysius Gymnasium
St. Aloysius Gymnasium - the clock was mounted on the wall behind the photographer

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1987 District Champs
Coach Milton Rohm
Coach Milton Rohm

Jamal Lacour
Jamal Lacour scores.

The Brother Martin Crusaders won the 1987 district title with an 11-4 league record.

  • Coach Milton Rohm's hoopsters won the first round with a 6-1 mark.
  • Chalmette copped the second round.
  • The Saders defeated the Owls in the playoff to take the crown
  • The Assumption Mustangs upset Martin in the first round of the playoffs.
  • The Crusaders finished the year with a 28-8 record, quite an improvement from the 5-24 mark two years previously.

1987 Crusader Basketball Team

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Greatest AA Comeback


Bobby Delpit
Bobby Delpit

The 1951-2 St. Aloysius cagers, led by returning starters Bobby Delpit, senior captain, and John "Boogie" Murret, a junior, won their sixth straight city crown and reached the state AA finals for the fourth consecutive year.

  • 1949: Johnny Altobello's quintet completed a perfect 18-0 season with a 36-30 victory over Holy Cross in the championship game.
  • 1950: Future LSU and NBA star Bob Pettit and the Baton Rouge Bulldogs captured the title 54-41.
  • 1951: The Crusaders downed Istrouma 50-42 in the finals to cop Altobello's third state title and the school's fourth. (Brother Ralph won the first in 1941.)

Some called Aloysius "little Kentucky" because the school dominated Louisiana prep basketball the way the Wildcats controlled the SEC.

The '52 Saints traveled to Natchitoches for the 8-team state tournament.

  • With the teams placed in the bracket by lot, the Crusaders drew Lake Charles. No problem - SA romped 56-32 on Friday, March 7.
  • In the semifinals the next day, the Saders breezed again, leading 17-3 at the end of Q1 on their way to a 44-30 victory over Bogalusa.

The finals Saturday night seemed a formality, but Bolton from Alexandria had other ideas.

  • The Wildcats bolted to a 16-11 lead after one period and continued to pour it on until they led 32-14 shortly before halftime.
  • Delpit and Paul Zinser made baskets to cut the margin to 14 at the break.
  • The situation was uncannily similar to the 36-20 deficit the Brother Martin Crusaders faced against Captain Shreve in the 1970 final before scoring the last four points of the first half on their way to a comeback OT victory.

A more determined Sader team took the court for the second half.

  • C Anthony Imbraguglio won the tip which led to a Delpit basket from the side.
  • Bolton decided to slow down the game, but Delpit had other ideas. He stole the ball twice and scored baskets to cut the margin to 8.

1952 Championship Game vs. Bolton

  • The teams traded baskets until Murret, who picked up four fouls in the first half, returned to action, giving SA more height.
  • By the end of the period, the Saints pulled within two, 39-37.

The game seesawed in the final eight minutes.

  • Early in the period, Zinser knotted the score with a basket.
  • The teams traded hoops until the final minutes when Zinser hit a one-hand push shot from the side to put SA in front 52-50.
  • Delpit handled the ball for the last minute and 45 seconds to seal the victory.
  • Murret joined Delpit on the all-tournament team which was cosidered the All-State squad.

The thrilling victory proved to be Altobello's last at St. Aloysius. He resigned effective June 1 to become AD and head football, basketball, and baseball coach at De La Salle, which would have a full four years of students for 1952-3.

1952 State AA Champions
1952 State AA Champions
Standing: Coach Johnny Altobello, Roger Mmahat, Mike Conlin, Paul Centanni, Bob Skrokov, Anthony Imbraguglio, Jerry Cambre, John Murret, Joe Mahoney, Paul Zinser, Al Jacob. Kneeling: James Casabat, Bobby Stechmann, Joe Trapani, Bobby Delpit, Joe Murray, Merlin Bily, Ray Tujague
Lavie Takes Over

John Lavie took over the Brother Martin basketball program for 1999-2000. A graduate of LSU, John came to Elysian Fields from McMain.

  • Lavie announced: "Our goal will be to return the basketball program to the glory days of the early ‘70s. We want to fill the gym with students and alumni."
  • His coaching staff included Bill Gallagher (JV) and two first-year faculty members, Jarrod Kincaid (9th) and Jabbar Juluke (8th)
  • John's father, Carl ('46), had coached basketball and baseball at St. Aloysius from 1954-6.

The Crusaders finished the preseason 14-5.

  • The season began with four straight victories, including three in capturing the Grace King Tournament championship.
  • December 14 brought a 65-60 OT victory over Bonnabel, a state quarterfinalist from the previous season. The Bruins missed two potential game-winning FTs at the end of regulation before being outscored 12-7 in the extra period.
  • The Saders also captured the Lovett High School Christmas holiday tournament in Atlanta.

District play brought heavy-sledding.

  • Lavie's men dropped their first five, including a 63-61 OT loss to Rummel.
  • Finally, a 59-47 triumph over Holy Cross ended an 18-game district losing streak.
  • The biggest win of the year came over playoff-bound De La Salle 71-51 to avenge a first round 49-46 loss to the Cavs.
  • Eddie Geise's buzzer-beater gave the Saders a 64-62 OT win over Holy Cross to close the curtain on the season with a 17-14 record.

Geise headed the post-season awards.

  • Eddie made the All-District team and was voted BM's best defensive player.
  • Mark Ganucheau earned the Saders MVP award, leading the team in scoring with an 11.2 average.
  • Geise (11.1) and James Olivard (10.0) also averaged in double figures.

Coach John Lavie
Coach John Lavie

Eddie Geiss
Eddie Geiss

1999-2000 Brother Martin Crusaders
Crusader Basketball Squad 1999-2000
Sitting: Chris Kieffer (mgr), Justin Primeaux (mgr), Philip Brock, Eddie Geise, Eric Gallagher, Tim LeBlanc, Joey Barnitz, Ryan Gallagher, John Anderson, Tyrone Walker (mgr)
Standing: Coach Bill Gallagher, Chris Balley, Dave Theard, Jeff Reboul, James Olivard, Mark Ganucheau, Gavin Baker, Shane Saacks, Coach John Lavie
Crusaders 2 Wolfpack 0

The 1946-7 St. Aloysius cagers, in Johnny Altobello's first season at the helm, defeated the Loyola freshman team not once but twice.

  • In that era, college freshmen were not eligible for varsity play. So coaches formed freshmen teams to introduce new players to college ball.
  • Altobello scheduled a December game with the Wolfpups as part of a doubleheader with the Loyola-Rice varsity game at the Coliseum.
Built in 1922 on the corner of Roman and Conti streets, the Coliseum hosted boxing matches as well as high school and college basketball games.

The Crusaders prevailed 45-37.

  • The defeat was Loyola's first in seven games.
  • The fact that two senior lettermen, C John Cronin (appendicitis) and G Bobby Piper (ankle injury), missed the game added to the enormity of the upset.
  • Nick Revon (a junior in eligibility) led all scorers with 16 points. Senior C Red Davis added 10 while junior F Lou Bravo threw in 8.
  • The leading scorers for the Wolfpups were George Vila (SA '46) and Pete Finney (future Times-Picayune sports editor) with 9 apiece.

The teams played again in January at the Crusader gym with similar results. Aloysius won 49-40. The Picayune described the action like this.

Staging a blistering last minute storm, the St. Aloysius hoopsters dealt the Junior Loyola Wolfpack a 49-40 trouncing before an enthusiastic crowd of hardwood followers gathered in the Crusader gym. After gaining a 3-point margin at the end of the first frame, which was cut down to a point at the turn of the second, and ironed out to a 29-point deadlock going into the fourth, the Saints blew the lid off the affair when Nick Revon, Lou Bravo, and John Cronin ripped the nets to put the Crusaders in the safety zone. The Red racers kept the score keeper busy all evening, with Revon stealing into the honor slot with 19 points and Lou Bravo following with 10. Pivotman "Long" John Cronin had 7, the three "Ds," Davis, Duncan, and Drake plus Barbara totaled 13. The All-Preppers of Loyola proved to be a real test for the Knights who were prepping for their all-important meet with Jesuit.

Altobello's first squad swept to the state championship, the school's first since its initial crown in 1941.

1946-7 Basketball Starters
1960 CYO Champs

Ernie Smith's St. Aloysius Crusaders won the 10th Annual CYO Tournament held December 26-28, 1960.

  • Sporting an 11-2 record, the Crimson and White waltzed past West Jefferson 71-37 in the first round. G Gerry Brewer ('62) and F Joe Rink ('61) tallied 13 each to lead the scoring while C Henry Arceneaux ('61) contributed 12.
  • Aloysius needed every one of Arceneaux's 24 points to squeak past Jesuit 58-57 in the semifinals.
  • In the finals, SA trailed De La Salle 29-28 at the end of Q3 before scoring six straight early in the final period to surge to a 42-35 victory. G O. J. Lacour ('62) led with 10 while Arceneaux added 9.
  • Henry won the MVP Award while Brewer joined him on the All-Tournament Team. Another member of the team was Jesuit F Rusty Staub.

The Crusaders barged through district play undefeated before entering the state playoffs.

  • Bastrop traveled from the edge of Arkansas to get clobbered 69-47 at Jesuit Gym. Lacour led with 23. Arceneaux threw in 13 along with 8 rebounds while Rink tallied 11 points and 9 boards.
  • The Saints motored across town to East Jefferson to slay the Warriors 57-43. Down by 2 at halftime, SA surged in Q3 to take control. Arceneaux hit 22 as the only Sader in double digits.
  • Smith's crew drove all the way to Shreveport for the semifinals only to lose to LaGrange of Lake Charles 58-50. Lacour ranked as high pointman with 13.
  • The Crusaders could boast the finest record of any AAA team in the state, 28-4.
Henry Arceneaux, CYO MVP
Henry Arceneaux receives CYO MVP award from Msgr. Screen.
1960-1 St. Aloysius Crusaders
St. Aloysius Basketball Team 1960-1
Three Straight JV Crowns

The 1980-1 Brother Martin JV won the district title for the third straight year.

  • That brought the five-year record of Coach Tommy Smith ('71) for the last five years to 113-11.
  • With sophomore Derek Collins leading the scorers, sophomore Juan Sorapuru rebounding, and junior Byron Alexander assisting, the Baby Crusaders won 25 and lost only one.
  • All three would play key roles on Coach Johnny Vitrano's varsity the next season. Collins won the district scoring title with 17.2 ppg and earned a spot on the District 11-AAAA first team.
  • As seniors, Collins and Sorapuru would spark Coach Milton Rohm's 1982-3 Saders to the state semifinals and a 29-6 record.
JV Coach Tommy Smith
Coach Smith instructs Derek Collins.
1980-1 Brother Martin JV Basketball Team
1980-1 Brother Martin JV Basketball Squad
First row: Dwayne Mohr, Byron Alexander, John Ledet, James Fontenot, Christopher White Second row: Paul Briuglio, Derek Collins, Juan Sorapuru, Joel Price, Lewis, Jean-Louis Valladares, Tim Stemley, David Schexnaydre, Emmanuel Spann, Henry Eiserloh
8th Grade Basketball Goes Out with a Bang
1968-9 8th Grade Basketball Coach and Players

The 1968-9 St. Aloysius 8th grade basketball team had an outstanding season to help close out the 100-year history of the school on a high note.

  • Coach Rod Krentel's squad finished 16-1.
  • The only loss came at the hands of Holy Cross in the finals of the St. James Invitational.
  • The Crusaders trounced De La Salle 41-20 in their final contest.
  • Jay Trapani led in scoring with an 11.5 average.
  • Eddie Reese was second in points with 9.6 with Henry Nuss close behind at 9.4. Billy Jones (8.2) and Paul Miller (3.7) completed the top five.
  • The squad won the St. John Vianney Tournament.
  • Some other victories were: Holy Cross 38-24, Newman 46-39 and 54-46, St. James Major 42-38, De La Salle 48-30, St. Christopher 48-20, and Jesuit 34-18.
Billy Jones for 2
Billy Jones goes up for 2.
1968-9 St. Aloysius 8th Grade Basketball Team
St. Aloysius 1968-9 8th Grade Basketball Team
New Basketball Rules for 1939-40
Tim McCarthy, St. Aloysius Basketball 1939-40
1939-40 Crusader

Prior to the 1939-40 high school basketball season, the national rules-making body adopted some changes.

  • Backboards must be 4’ from the end lines (except where gyms don’t have enough room, but must be 2’ minimum in any case).

  • In a tie game, an additional timeout is allowed each team for each overtime period.

  • Officials can recognize a timeout call from any player, not just the captain.

  • After a free throw for a technical foul, the ball is awarded to the team which was awarded the free throw and play is resumed by a throw-in from out of bounds at midcourt.

  • If a player in the act of shooting for a goal is fouled from behind or is roughly handled from any direction, two free throws are awarded whether the FG is made or not.

  • When a personal foul is called, the offended team has the option of trying the free throw or putting the ball in play from out of bounds. If two free throws are awarded, this rule applies to the last free throw. It does not apply in case of a double foul. Officials will assume the second free throw will be shot unless the captain expresses desire to waive it.
Good Start
Furlan Twins

After two straight state championships, the 1971-2 Brother Martin basketball team faced a daunting task in defending their title.

  • Only three lettermen returned: Twins Joe and Charlie Furlan and Jay Trapani.
  • Coach Andy Russo said of his tri-captains:

Another trip to Alexandria [for the Top Twenty Tournament] is not out of the question; the question is whether we want to go bad enough. ... The twins could be the best pair of running guards in the state, and Jay Trapani could be one of the best - if not the best - forwards in the district. However it is up in the air as to finding the other two starters. This year is definitely a rebuilding year for us.

The tri-captains got off to a great start.

  • Jay pulled down a school record 22 rebounds and scored 19 in the 88-48 home romp over Cohen November 16. Joe Furlan added 21.
  • Three days later, the Saders blew away South Terrebonne 95-67 in a home game moved to the afternoon because of the first round state playoff football game that evening against Kennedy. Charlie Furlan and Raymond Gordon combined for 45 points.
  • The third Brother Martin hardwood squad continued their fast start with a 69-51 victory over East Jefferson, a 81-79 win at Cohen, and a 51-50 squeaker over McDonogh.
  • The victories gave the Crusaders a 10-game winning streak dating back to the previous season.
  • Catholic High ended the streak 78-67.

The Crusaders would finish the season 18-9, losing to St. Augustine in playoff for second place in district and a spot in the state playoffs.

Jay Trapani
Jay Trapani




2011 Top 28 Honorees

Gift from the Mayor

1987 District Champs

Lavie Takes Over

Crusaders 2, Wolfpack 0

1960 CYO Champs

Three Straight JV Crowns

8th-Grade Basketball Goes Out with a Bang

New Basketball Rules for 1939-40

Good Start


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