Holy Hoops

High schoolers compete through parishes


Quinn Magee ‘23 dribbles out of trouble against SJC Disciples at St. John of the Cross (Matysik/Tabulae).

Molly Burke, Sports Editor

Some take Church League basketball as friendly neighborhood competition, while others look to win consistently each week and make it to the playoffs, Saint Franics Xavier (SFX) Denja player, Isaac Nee ‘23 said. 

This was Nee’s third year playing Church League and decided to join because he wanted to continue playing basketball in a less competitive setting. Nee played travel basketball as well as in high school, until his sophomore year when he suffered an injury in his knee.

“My main goal with Church League is to win the whole thing,” Nee said. “Having fun is always a plus, but my main goal is to win the playoffs.”

Teammate Sam Levinson ‘23 also played basketball in high school and stopped to focus on volleyball, as he has signed with Division-III Springfield College to continue his volleyball career. This opened the opportunity to play Church League with friends without it being something difficult to schedule around, he said.

“I love being able to play basketball with a ton of friends that I see all the time without us all having to play for LT’s varsity team,” Levinson said. “Sometimes I have to miss games because I’m out of town with my club volleyball team, but I’m able to show up to most practices and games.”

This league not only includes parishes from LT’s district, but also includes Notre Dame, a parish in Hinsdale. The LT/Hinsdale Central rivalry these schools see from the football, basketball, and many other seasons transferred over to Church League, St. John of the Cross (SJC) Trolls player Jack Falls ‘23 said.

“It’s all fun at the end of the day, but I think players from LT definitely try harder against the Hisndale teams,” Falls said.

Church League not only has junior/senior teams, but also freshman/sophomore teams to give all grades an opportunity to play. SFX Dickman/Wolf player Gavin Wolf ‘25 played his freshman and sophomore year and loves the opportunity he gets to play and spend time with his friends, he said.

While competitiveness was definitely an aspect of Church League this season, assistant coach of SFX Sedlacek, Alex Garcia’s goal was to teach his players the fundamentals of the sport, about camaraderie and what being a part of a team means, he said. Garcia has coached basketball for over 15 years and this is his second year coaching Church League. 

“My favorite part about Church League is getting to know these young men better,” Garcia said. “I have been very fortunate to have had such a great community of coaches over the years. They have really helped me in all levels of sports, and have taught me even a lot about myself.”

According to Falls and Levinson, one of the top teams in the league is SFX Sedlacek, with players Chris Franko ‘23 and Jack Berry ‘23, who both played basketball for LT previously.

“They definitely are a challenge and bring some great competition to the court,” Falls said.

March 11 marked the start of the playoffs for the junior/senior teams. SFX Denja, SJC Trolls, Cletus State Warriors and ND Elite advanced to the second round of the playoffs on March 18. SJC Trolls finished in first place, with the final score of 41-39.