St. Christopher CYO, 2005

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   St. Christopher won the Philadelphia region CYO basketball championship for
grade schools and then competed the weekend of April 1-3 in Pittsburgh for the
state title. The squad finished No. 2 and compiled a 38-3 overall record.
   We received an e-mail from Greg Olenski, a former stalwart at Dougherty,
about the squad and decided to post some info. Greg provided updates as well
as the photo below. We appreciate his hustle and wish all of the players the best
of luck. 

wpe7.jpg (71472 bytes)

Front, L to R -- ballboys
Vincent Luciano, Michael Devlin and John Luciano.
Middle, L to R -- Brian Dones, Matt Hoch, Matt Riloff, Greg Olenski, Stephen Jackson, Frank McGarry.
Back, L to R -- coach Steve Devlin, Danny Kelly, Kevin Regan, Will McFillin, Michael Leithead, Mario Buonanoce,
Matt Whitworth, assistant John Luciano.

   Well, wish I had better news -- we lost, 39-37, to a very talented Greensburg diocese team, Aquinas Academy.  Our kids were absolutely crushed but hey , second in the state is still pretty damn good.

   We had a 1-point lead with about 1:30 to play.  We were holding the ball and our guard got fouled in a 1 and 1.   We missed the front end of the one and one and they came down and scored to go up 1.  We came down and missed and then fouled right away.  They made 1 of 2 to go up by 2 and we missed 2 shots at the end - one a three pointer and one a 2 to try to tie.
   What a tough game.  The kids took it hard but after the 6-hour bus ride home, they were pretty upbeat as most 13 and 14 year olds tend to be.  I think the coaches and parents were hurting more than they were. I know, coming from my experience at Widener when we lost in the National Semifinals when I was a senior, it is a tough one to get over. But hopefully it won't cloud the fantastic season that this team had.  They won 35 games and lost 3.  Pretty good record and most of the 8 graders will be moving on to play high school ball so you will be covering them soon, I'm sure.

   We won again yesterday afternoon. This time over Allentown, 40-37.  We play at 2:30 this afternoon against the Aquinas Academy Crusaders from the Greensburg Diocese.  They defeated the Pittsburgh team yesterday.
   Our team was led by Wil McFillin, Michael Leithead and Mario Buonanoce, who were the only 3 players to score for us.  Wil had an unbelievable game, shooting 5-6 from the 3 point line and just playing an outstanding game.  We trailed once in the game but pretty much controlled the tempo.  Allentown cut it to a 3-point game near the end and it stayed that way until the final buzzer.
It should be a helluva game this afternoon and our 8th graders get to play their last CYO game for the PA State Championship.  Pretty cool thing...

   What an unbelievable game last night!!!!  St. Chris defeated St. Mary of Mount Carmel parish from the Scranton diocese in DOUBLE OVERTIME!!!
   It was one of the best 7-8th grade games that I have ever witnessed and most of the people in attendance said the same thing.
   We struggled a little bit in the game at the beginning and were behind the entire game and even down 12 points with about three and half minutes to play in regulation.  We got the ball on a 5 second violation with 12 seconds left and we were down 2.  We called timeout and set up a play for our big man, Michael Leithead, who calmly got the ball in the post, turned and hit an 8 footer with about 5 seconds to play.  END OF REGULATION.
   First overtime, we were up 2 and they had the ball working it for a tying or winning shot.  They missed 2 shots and the ball squirted out to the elbow just inside the 3 point line and one of their kids picked up the ball and fired a shot  off with about 1.8 seconds to play and swished it naturally...
   Off to the second overtime, we won the tap and scored on our first possession.  Scranton came down and missed and we held the ball in 4 corners and got fouled - they were in the bonus penalty - and we proceeded to hit 8 straight foul shots while they only got one bucket.
   Now we are off to face St. Thomas More parish from the Allentown diocese at 2:45 pm this afternoon.
   Great great job by our coaches and players.  They really showed a lot of heart to come back and win.  In fact the coach from Scranton told John Luciano that they felt that this was the championship game.  They were very classy in losing to us and they really had a great team.  I have to tell you that our fans (the Moms and Dads and siblings) were simply exhausted after this game.  It was like an old school Catholic League playoff game if I ever seen one.

   The interesting twist here is that there are a bunch of kids on this team whose fathers also played Catholic/Inter-Ac League basketball for area Catholic high schools (and one who played Catholic League baseball, too).
   The players include Michael Leithead - whose father, Mike, played and was an all-Catholic at Archbishop Ryan HS; Kevin Regan - whose father Mike Regan starred at North Catholic; Wil McFillin - whose father Frank McFillin played at St. Joe's Prep (and who coaches football at Ryan); Matt Whitworth - whose brothers played at Chestnut Hill Academy and Drexel University and whose brother Tim is now playing professionally over in Austria; Mario Buonanoce - whose father Mario Sr. played baseball and was All-Catholic at Father Judge; and Greg Olenski - whose father Greg was all-Catholic at CD.
   There are also other kids with Catholic League connections: Stephen Jackson - his uncle is Marty Jackson, the former basketball coach at LaSalle HS; and Danny Kelly - whose brother Timmy plays varsity basketball at Archbishop Ryan.  Another player's father starred in baseball at Mastbaum High School as well - Jose Dones, who's son's name is Brian Dones.  Another player is Matt Hoch - whose father Dave is the softball coach at St. Hubert's.  That's 10 out of 12 players.
   The other two members of the team are Matt Riloff
and Frank McGarry.
   The other big connection to the Catholic League is our coaches.  Our head coach is Steve Devlin, who is the offensive coordinator at St. Joe's Prep football under Gil Brooks and who played baseball at Ryan.  His assistant is John Luciano, an All-Catholic basketball player at Father Judge in 1981.  He also is a current Catholic League basketball referee.
   The team is headed to Pittsburgh on Thursday afternoon and over 55 people - including parents, players and siblings - will be boarding a bus to try and win the PA State CYO Championship.  St. Chris had never won the archdiocesan championship before and will now try to make history by winning the state title.

Someone sent in this list of recent ex-St. Chris players . . .
Basketball players
Brian Fox Judge
Brendan Fox Judge
Tim Whitworth  CHA
Tom Whitworth CHA
Pat Whithworth CHA
Mike Slattery GA
Chris Kozole Ryan
Jim Welsh Ryan
L.B. Rebstock Ryan
Bobby Jordan Roman
Keith Adams Ryan
Kevin Hudgeons Ryan
Jon Bruce Ryan
Football players that played basketball
Neal Regan - Ryan
Frank McArdle Ryan
Chris McArdle ryan
John McFillin - Washignton
Rich McFillin  Washington
Dan Jordan - Roman
Pat Kaiser- St Joe's Prep