As a result of an outstanding season last year, St. Rocco's sixth grade basketball traveling team has moved up to a more competitive level this year and for its six games, has been matched against highly experienced and talented teams. Although still looking for its first victory in the "Premier" division, the majority of its games played so far could have gone either way, with the outcome generally decided in the last minute. Incredibly, five out of its six games were decided by less than a five-point margin, with two of those games going into double sudden-death overtime!
The team's rapid development and enhanced reputation was evidenced in a recent basketball tournament at Notre Dame. Playing with heart and determination, the team made a terrific showing, placing second. Point guard Steven Kornreich, who displayed superb ball handling skills, led the offense. Routinely penetrating the defense, Kornreich was often seen dishing off to Michael DiCarlo, John Perrone, Matt DeMaria and Matt Meglio who seemed to score at will. Corey Land, Miles Landron, Anthony Bellock and Matty Jalbert played aggressive defense often sacrificing their bodies for the benefit of the team.
The next home game for the sixth grade team will take place at the Finley Middle School at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 20. All fans who will attend are likely to see another thriller.
St. Rocco's fifth grade basketball traveling team is off to a terrific start this year. Although most of its players are in the fourth grade and playing competitively for the first time, the team has exhibited great poise, determination and maturity during the first half of the season. St. Rocco's has won its first seven games and with a 7 and 0 record, stands alone in first place. There are five games remaining on the schedule before playoffs begin.
While its first six victories against local CYO teams in Nassau County were generally lopsided and accomplished in a decisive and overwhelming fashion, its most recent victory on Jan. 16 against St. Boniface 1 in Sea Cliff was highly competitive. Before the game, both teams boasted a 6 and 0 record and were tied for first place. Down at half-time, St. Rocco's battled back with tenacious defense and came away with a 26 to 20 victory. Vinnie Graziose led all scorers with 12 points. Guards Alex Discala and Roberto Lyons used their exceptional speed and scored 6 and 4 points respectively. Gabby Lebron and Bobby McGlaughlin each had a field goal and did a terrific job clogging up the middle. Ariel Bresky, Stephen Suozzi and Joey Maruca handled the ball well and created many scoring opportunities. Matched up against a bigger front court, Kevin Maccarone, Michael McCrindle and Omar Morales used their strength and athleticism to control the boards.
A rematch between St. Rocco's and St. Boniface 1 is scheduled for Jan. 26, and will be played at Connolly School at 6:30 p.m. All fans are urged to attend the game and show their support.