2009-02-05 / News

St. Mark basketball teams head for playoffs

By Stephanie Heelan Cotsonas

Hannah Farrelly puts up two points for the girls' open division team. Most Sunday afternoons from October through February the Lawn Avenue gym is taken over by the Catholic Athletic League, formerly the CYO basketball league.

Jamestown has six teams with boys and girls ranging from sixth grade through high school.

St. Mark competes in the Diocese of Providence CAL made up of parish basketball leagues from the East Bay area. Mary Heath has been the Jamestown CAL League coordinator for the past four years.

The kids play together on the CAL teams as well as middle school and recreation teams. "It is great for the kids to have another place to play competitive basketball. They just want to play as much basketball as possible," Heath said. The number of teams and their divisions may change from year to year depending on the number of kids playing and demand.

The boys' Open Division eighth grade team plays against the best teams in the state. The roster includes James Chamberlain, Owen Heath, Mark Powell, David Brown, Adam Southworth, Tyler Woodward, Nathan Lambert, Matt Raffenelli and Kevin McDermott.

Tomas Murphy looks for an open passing lane in the fifth grade boys' game. Tomas Murphy looks for an open passing lane in the fifth grade boys' game. Heath coaches the eighth graders in the most competitive division in the league. It is a state-wide division and the open playoffs determine the overall state champion, who proceeds to the New England tournament to represent Rhode Island. St. Mark is currently in fourth place out of eight teams.

On Sunday, the boys lost by four points to first place team St. Michael of Providence who are undefeated. Earlier in the season they lost by five points to second place team, St. Luke. "They could end up making it to the state final and even winning the tournament. It's been our goal since the beginning of the season to try to win the state tournament so we could compete in the New England's. We are very strong defensively. Our rebounding has improved dramatically and our bigger kids do a great job boxing out and rebounding. We play against a lot of kids who play AAU, so the competition has been really exciting and has elevated the kids' play. All the kids contribute to the team and most of them have played CYO together since the fourth grade instructional league," Heath said

Owen Heath keeps the ball away from the defender during a well-played game by the boys' open division team. Owen Heath keeps the ball away from the defender during a well-played game by the boys' open division team. The St. Mark girls' Open Division high school team is undefeated and will be in the playoffs according to Heath. The girls' roster includes Danielle and Nicole

Perez, Eloise Heath, Jessica Brown, Sarah and Allison Smith, Hannah Farrelly, Kelly Brown and Ashlin Gillis. "The team has a lot of depth and most of the girls have played together since the fifth grade so they know each other well on the court and they don't need much coaching. Our strength is rebounding and scoring inside the paint. More importantly this league offered the girls the chance to play together again. They smile a lot on the court, and are having a blast," Heath said

The remaining four St. Mark teams play in the A Division where four teams from each age group go on to the A Division state playoffs.

Dimitri Varrecchione hangs on to the ball even though he is heavily guarded during the sixth grade boys' game. Photos by Caitlin Downing Dimitri Varrecchione hangs on to the ball even though he is heavily guarded during the sixth grade boys' game. Photos by Caitlin Downing The seventh and eighth grade A Division girls' team is coached by Chris Perrotti and is in fourth place in their division. The roster includes Cara Liberati, Molly Sylvia, Kristijana McCarthy, Raechelle DeValerio, Olivia Di- Mauro, Amina Brown, Olivia McGowan, Sophie Perrotti, Victoria Rosa, Talley Larkin, Julia Thompson, Katherine Normand, Roma Patel, Rebecca Heavy, Maddie Brown and Audrey Tuttle.

The boys' seventh grade team is coached by Eddie Gillis and the roster includes Grant Gillis, Jake Gillis, Ben Lee, Riley Greene, Tim Archer, Austin Turillo, Evin Barrett, Jared Ford, Jamie Mielde and Andrew McCarthy.

There are two Midget (fifth and sixth grade boys' teams) in the A Division and both teams will likely make it into the playoffs.

Chris Varrecchione coaches the sixth grade boys with assistant coach Tom Waddington. The roster includes Dimitri and Antonio Varrecchione, John Waddington, Finn O'Farrell, Kelly Curran, Bradley Miller, John Chamberlain, Ben Roach and Liam O'Donnell. Varrecchione said that it has been great watching the kids improve from the instructional league.

The fifth grade boys are coached by Rob Smith and include Jordan Smith, Tomas Murphy, Giancarlo Varrecchione, Teddy Roberts, Liam Vetter, Noah Simmons, Steven Cirella, Robert Haberland and Jay Patel. Assistant coach is Jay Murphy of South Kingstown.

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