St. Camillus / St. Virgilius Basketball Program Ends Another Great Year


Another successful basketball season has come to an end. The league runs from November through mid-February. The program is actually divided into two main leagues: the Mini league, which plays all their games on Saturday mornings and is comprised of kids from kindergarten through the third grade; and the older leagues that play their games on weeknights. These leagues include several divisions with girls and boys ranging from fourth to eighth grade. All together this year, we had more than 350 children and young adults participating in the two leagues.

The Mini league is further separated into two divisions: K -1 and second- and third-graders.Let’s start with the K-1 division. This is a fantastic program that is tremendous fun for everyone involved. You cannot help but have a great time if you come and watch these kids play. The crowds are loud, the kids are having fun, and it seems like all the parents get involved somehow to help out. 

The year ends with the Mini Olympics. This is without question the best day of the year. Several games are set up at different stations throughout the gym. The games incorporate shooting, dribbling, and passing skills. At the end of the day, everyone is a winner, and all the children receive trophies to commemorate their achievements for the year.  However, just like the regular Olympics, special awards are given out to the top performers.

This year we included the third-graders in this league for the first time. We set up a division where the second- and third-graders played games against each other. In this division, we set up actual playoffs, and they couldn’t have turned out better. The semi-final was exciting as it gets. It was the Gold team coached by Carrie Long and Bill Kelly vs. the Lime Green team coached by Skippy Long. The game ended up going into overtime with the Gold team pulling out a narrow four-point win. The championship game was just as great, with the Gold team vs. the Red team coached by Joe Courtney. The two teams really battled, and stayed within three points of each other the entire game. Finally, with about five minutes to go, the Red team pulled ahead and earned a well-deserved victory. 

I said earlier that we decided to incorporate the third grade into the Mini league this year, but as usual I’m taking credit for someone else’s great idea (how do you think I keep this job), but this time, this idea was completely the brainchild of Jill Palisi. Jill runs the Mini league and is constantly thinking of ways to make the program better. Well, she did it again this year because this idea worked out great. Jill is completely dedicated to this program.  She is there every Saturday for over five hours running it. She does an unbelievable job and we are so lucky to have her.

Now on to the older leagues. Again in these leagues we ended up being extremely lucky with our championship games. Every game was close and could have gone either way.  On championship night, we held three games. The Girl’s championship featured the undefeated Lime Green Team coached by Allison Chavanne and Ed Cashen vs. the Blue team coached by Pat Palmese;  the Junior Boy’s championship included the Green team, coached by Rob McKnight and Brett Tawil vs. the Blue team, coached by Roderick Fordham; and the Senior Boys game had the Orange team, coached by Javed Rambarian vs. the Blue team, coached by Greg Grosseto.

The similarity between all three games was amazing. In all three games, one team started off extremely hot. Making just about everything they put up. Whereas the other team just couldn’t get it going and ended up falling way behind. To the credit of all of the teams that fell behind, not one of them gave up. Each one slowly battled their way back into the game. All of them cut the leads way down, and all of them were well within striking distance in the closing minutes. Kudos have to be given to all the teams who grabbed the lead early, because although they may have bent a little during the game, they all had the talent and composure to hold on to their leads and go on to victory.

Special thanks need to go out to Calvin Stanley. He is really the glue that holds the older leagues together. He is there two nights a week for about five hours a night. Without Mr. Stanley this league would not be possible. Finally, the last thank you always goes to Father Ahlemeyer. He is the foundation of the program and without his consistent enthusiastic support, we would not be able to provide this wonderful experience to all of these children and young adults.

If you weren’t part of the fun this year, we hope you come down and join in next year.  Please call the St. Camillus rectory for details about registration for next year, or simply keep your eye on The Rockaway Times for the information.