Church League returns, heats up

Teams battle for championship win, bragging rights among classmates

Aidan Wirtz, Sports Editor

Church League basketball is something high school students look forward to every year. For those who choose not to try out for the LT team, or for anybody who is looking to participate in competitive basketball outside of school, Church League accommodates any athlete interested in hoopin’ in their free time. 

But don’t assume that this is always friendly competition. Fouling out, ejections, and technical fouls are all still in play. A few players, like Carter Fennema ‘22, tend to disagree with some of the rules.

“I was thrown out for dunking in one game, because a certain referee believes it’s a technical foul to dunk,” Fennema said. “I’ve dunked before with other refs and they didn’t call anything. Players should be able to play as they please.”

Fennema, who stands at 6-foot 6-inches, finds it difficult to not slam it down. But Fennema does more than dunk, and was a triple threat, grabbing multiple rebounds a game as well as being the team’s big man in the paint. Fennema and his teammates from Saint Francis Xavier were 8-1 in the regular season, and were one of the top two Church League teams. 

“For the playoffs, our goal is to win every game by at least 20,” Fennema said, when interviewed prior to semifinals. “We may have lost one game, but we are ready to dominate. Nobody will be competing with us.”

Alongside Fennema was offensive standout Eddie Tullis ‘22. Tullis was just as powerful on the court as Fennema, and averaged 20 points a game. In his highest scoring game, Tullis splashed home eight three-point shots to finish with a total of 38. As much of a powerhouse as he is, he speaks highly of those who accompany him in dominating other teams.

“Everybody on our team contributed to the wins we got,” Tullis said. “We’ve got the best shooters, the best defensive dogs, and the best bench in the league.”

Carson Kessler ‘22, Ethan Wheeler ‘22, and Eid Keshta ‘22 completed the starting five for the Saint Francis team. But younger competition such as Will Glimco ‘23  from Saint John of the Cross (SJC) gave teams a run for their money this season.

“I personally think we are the best team in the league,” Glimco said. “My game high is about 30 points, and it’d be higher if I didn’t always get into foul trouble.”

Unfortunately for the boys from SJC and SFX, their teams fell in the semi-final rounds of the church league playoffs. Glimco and SJC lost to the First Presebytarian Church of La Grange (FPCLG) with a score of 48-34. Meanwhile Tullis and SFX narrowly lost to Saint Cletus  Parish with a score of 51-48, where Joey Antonietti ‘22 drained five three-point buckets for Cletus. 

With the final playoff games wrapped up, two teams remained. Saint Cletus Parish, and FPCLG. Antonietti, Sean Morfoot ‘22 and Sam Kidder ‘22 lead the charge for Cletus. As for FPCLG, Kyle Clifton ‘22 and Luke Stockbridge ‘22 dominated the court, and aimed to lead their team to victory. 

FPCLG took home the win over Saint Cletus in the championship game which was played on Saturday, March 19 with a final score of 38-28 to finish the 2022 Church League season.