2000-02-19 / Sports

Hoop Action At St. Francis

1999-2000 SFDS boys third grade CYO team are (left to right, top) Coach Jim Dunn, (second row) Ryan Mende, Frank Dima, Matt Alessi, Carl Hauck, Zack Rosen, Neil Howard, Nick Mastros, Thomas Ryan, Eric Maxfield, (bottom) Ken Smith, Josh Frankel, Mike Knott, Connor O'Grady, Malt Knott, and John Reinhardt.

On Sunday afternoon in the St. Francis gym, the SFDS third grade CYO boys basketball team took on their arch rivals and friends--St. Thomas More--in an exciting, fast-paced game.

The first quarter was action-packed. Ryan Meade and Zack Rosen crisscrossed well under the key to gain offensive advantages. John Reinhardt made a great bounce pass to open and eagerly awaiting guard Matt Alessi. Matt came through with an awesome, outside corner shot for the first basket of the game. Nick Mastros' height advantage enabled him to pick and rebound well.

The second quarter opened with a tie score and the appearance of the Blue and Gold's 'Big' string. Mike and Matt Knott each scored a basket and proved to be double-trouble to the opposition at both ends of the court. Thomas Ryan sunk one and turned in an impressive point-guard performance. Eric Maxfield's quarterback throw downcourt assisted Neil Howard with a fast break/lay-up combo. This string was spectacular at swinging the ball around the key.

The boys ended their half-time conference by gathering in a circle with hands joined in the center and shouting a cheer which they made-up themselves: "SFDS- We are the best!"

In the third quarter, Connor O'Grady drove toward the basket and took a shot. Tenacious guards Sean Kirby and Kenny Smith quickly pursued rebounds and achieved several turnovers. Carl Hauck held on oh-so tight and won ball possession. Frank Dima boxed-out well under the key and came up with several rebounds. Josh Frankel ran some impressive screens. Joe Keenan and his excellent ball-handling ability was sorely missed. The quarter ended with the Blue-and-Gold down by 1 point.

The battle continued into the final quarter. Matt Knott hit the jumpshot, Neil Howard delivered a bankshot and Kenny Smith made the lay-up.

The final score, or any score for that matter, was not kept as the third grade level is considered to be a learning one. The great teamwork and talent the boys demonstrated is typical of how they've performed all year. This millennium team enjoyed a fantastic season. They represented their parish with honor by capturing first place wins in both the SFDS Christmas Tournament and the St. Benjamin's Tournament. Since the fall, these basketball-buddies practiced regularly, learned a lot and most importantly had fun.

The team owes their success to the excellent coaching of Jim Dunn. Jim's work began in October when he took a group of inexperienced 8 and 9 year-olds, and through patience, dedication and humor transformed them into a fine, cohesive ball-team. Jim stressed teamwork and fundamentals and ignited in the boys a fierce desire to compete and to be successful in the game.

The team also thanks stretching coach Vince Esposito for keeping the boys limber and expressed gratitude to all the parents who gave of their time--especially Paul Mastros, Kenny Smith, Joe Ryan, Frank Dima, Don Howard, Susan Rosen and Chris Mastros.

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