St. Mark teams victorious in Sunday hoops events
On any given Sunday, there is a lot of action at the Lawn school gym when the CAL, formerly CYO, basketball league takes the court. Last Sunday, the St. Mark teams were victorious in all four of their games.
St. Mark competes in the Diocese of Providence Catholic Athletic League, which is made up of parish basketball leagues from the East Bay area. Mary Heath has been the Jamestown CAL coordi- nator for the past three years.
There are over 70 players on six teams, including five boys' teams and one girls' team. The kids play together on the CAL teams as well as middle school and recreation teams. "They want to play as much basketball as possible," according to Heath. The CAL season starts practices in October and games run from November to the beginning of March.
Seventh-grader Owen Heath and eighth-grader Danny Bailey agree that they enjoy playing with the same group of kids on the different teams.
The fourth grade boys are coached by Chris Varrecchione and play on Saturdays in Bristol. This team is a travel instructional league and the St. Mark squad has only one loss.
The high school boys' team is made up of ninth and tenth graders and is a new team this year. "It is great because they have all been playing together since fourth grade and now some are playing in high school and some go to Hendricken, Prout and NK so now they can play together again," Heath said.
Recap of Sunday's games
Fifth and sixth grade boys
The St. Mark fifth and sixth grade CAL Team continued its winning ways with a 27-21 win over St. Barnabas of Portsmouth. They are coached by Chris Crawford and Tom Waddington and the win boosted the young squad to a 4-2 record.
The team was led by Grant Gillis who raked in 11 rebounds and 10 points. The backcourt was anchored by Antonio Varrecchione, Jake Gillis, John Chamberlain, and Benn Lee. Chamberlain led with four assists.
St. Mark was down by nearly ten before finding the energy and rhythm of Austin Turillo, Demitri Varrecchione, Jared Ford, John Waddington and Austin Crawford.
Turillo was relentless off the boards against bigger opponents. He had several missed opportunities in the first half and according to Crawford mumbled with a smile, "I'm cursed today, when do I go back in?"
Coach Tom Waddington smiled at the end of the game and said, "I would hate to play us. These kids are collectively a fireball of fun to watch with a game on the line. What energy and speed."
Seventh and eighth grade girls
The seventh and eighth grade girls landed their first victory on Sunday against St. Luke of Barrington 19-14. They are coached by Chris Perrotti.
The team is young and inexperienced but according to Perrotti, "The girls are coming along and they play hard and do not always get rewarded for their efforts."
The team is led by the offense and leadership of Brooke Doherty and Cara Liberati, Perrotti said. "But the story of our team all year long has been the intense defense of all 15 girls."
In the game against St. Luke, both Olivia McGowan and sixth grader Kristijana McCarthy scored their first points of the year and McCarthy played very good defense according to her coach.
Seventh and eighth grade boys
There are two seventh and eighth grade boys' teams coached by Heath. She has been coaching this group since they were in fourth grade and this year there were 18 kids in this age group so they were divided into two teams.
Seventh and eighth
grade boys B Division
The St. Mark seventh and eighth grade B Division CAL team has a 3 - 3 record and on Sunday played St. Barnabas from Portsmouth. The final score was 37-28. Leading scorers were Seamus Murray with 29 points, which was a season high and Matt Rafanelli with eight points. Tyler Woodward and Colin Enos led in assists and Andrew McCarthy, Eric Stroud and Nick Anding were strong on defense. Tim Archer, Nathan Lambert, Seamus Murray, Matt Rafanelli led in rebounds.
According to Heath, "He (Murray) is fast and is very good at driving to the hoop, creating a lot of open shot opportunities. The rest of the team did a great job on defense and rebounding on both ends of the court."
Seventh and eighth
grade boys A Division
The final game of the day was the seventh and eighth grade A Division CAL team, which took on St. Leo of Pawtucket and remains undefeated with a record of 6-0.
At the start of the second half, St. Mark was down 12-22 but came on strong in the second half for the win. Owen Heath and James Chamberlain started putting on the pressure, closed the gap and pulled ahead 27-26 with six minutes remaining in the game. After two baskets by Joe Real and added pressure by Christian Ellerbe and Danny Bailey, St. Mark won by a score of 42-36.
"They all played well at the end. In the first half, it was just a matter of getting them to run offense since they have not played together in a couple of weeks." Heath said, adding, "Full court press and good offensive rebounding helped with key baskets in the second half."
Leading scorers were Owen Heath with 14 points, Chamberlain with 11 points and Reale with six points. Outstanding on defense were Christian Ellerbe, Jacob Morris, Adam Southworth, and Anthony Will. Ellerbe and Morris led in steals while Kevin McDermott and Bailey had the most assists. In addition Bailey, Ellerbe, Dan Harpool, Owen Heath and Chamberlain led a collaborative rebound effort.
"We usually take a while to get going and to then we pick it up in the second half. That happens a lot," Mc Dermott said.