Church league basketball, the new NBA

This past weekend marked the start of St. Francis church league basketball; games were held on both Saturday and Sunday. Each game starts off with the teams joining hands and saying a prayer. (Photo courtesy of Lucy Leen)

Raleigh is home to hundreds if not thousands of church league basketball teams. All over the area, boys and girls of all ages participate in the league for either their own church or another that offers the league. The league gives kids a chance to have fun playing the sport while connecting them closer to their peers and faith.

Church league basketball is very popular amongst middle school boys and girls. Many students who end up not making their school team often turn to church league to play the game they love. However, as students enter high school, the girls’ league fizzles out, but the boys’ league grows even bigger.

High school boy’s church league is the “real deal” to say the least. Many of the boys describe church league as very competitive and serious. The league isn’t just about having fun– it’s about winning and being the champions.

“At first it’s not too competitive, but when the game gets tight, it gets pretty intense,” said Nate Diemer, junior and member of the St. Francis church league.

For most church leagues, there is a draft to pick the teams to try and prevent one team from being “stacked” with good players. Local church St. Francis of Assisi has a huge league that many Leesville boys participate in.

This year so many boys tried out that they had to create 14 different teams.

After the draft is complete, many players start making assumptions as to who will be the best based off of the team personnel, but not all these predictions prove to be true. Diemer, member of the Gremlins team at St. Francis, thinks it’s his team’s turn to clinch the championship title, but others may disagree.

“I think my team is slept on. We are kind of like the Lakers this year, so we might pull it out,” said Ben Petty, junior and member of the Bulldogs team at St. Francis.

“Church league is a league that tends to be a lot of Leesville kids, but there are kids from a bunch of schools around the area that come and play once every Saturday and practice every week, and we compete to see who is the best,” said Dominic Masterpasqua, junior and member of the St. Francis church league.

Claiming the championship title is the ultimate goal for all teams. Every team in the league wants the undefeated record, and every individual boy is competing for the most impressive stat sheet,s too. Bragging rights are a big part of church league, so the fight to be in the top spot is serious.

However, looking beyond the championship titles and stat sheets, church league is a great opportunity for these high school students to just have a good time. “It means a lot to me because I get to spend time with my friends other than just school,” said Masterpasqua.

The St. Francis league season is underway with the teams established an games coming up. Make sure to contact your friends who play and go out an enjoy the show–you won’t regret it.


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