FAIRFIELD — The priests stole repeatedly, the youths not as much, during the second annual clergy vs. the Holy Spirit School seventh- and eighth-grade boys basketball game.
The event was part of Catholic Schools Week, which kicked off Monday. The game was Monday afternoon.
Students, staff and guests filled the school’s gym and faced a dilemma. Should they root for the children or the priests?
While the clergy won the game by 20 points, both teams got plenty of cheers. The clergy were led by the Rev. Jovita Rata of Holy Spirit Catholic Church. Six other priests, one traveling from Corning, another from Monterey, joined him on the hardwood.
“They are fast and we are old,” Rata joked about the school teams before the game began. “We’ll try our best. We’ll given them a good play.”
The seventh-grade basketball team handled the first quarter on the floor. Donning red, white and black uniforms, Rata took the first shot and missed. The students gained possession via the rebound. A missed shot got the ball back to the priests and Rata hit his first shot, a 3-pointer. He followed it with a second basket.
The students got their first points at the free throw line.
At one point early in the game, the students closed within a point of the priests. By halftime, despite a slight height advantage for the eighth-graders, who handled the second and fourth quarters, the youths were down by 10.
The seventh-graders poured in five unanswered points early in the third quarter, but the youths started the fourth quarter down by 12 points. The eighth-graders gave it their best shot in the fourth quarter, but could not close the scoring gap.
There was no basketball version of football’s Hail Mary pass, but a few of the priests and players pulled some Harlem Globetrotters-style moves.
The final score was 68-48. It was an example of the clergy showing no mercy, Linda Faivre, the church’s business manager, said in jest.
After the buzzer sounded, the two teams congratulated each other. The students took the loss well.
“It was fun,” said Julian Bactad, an eighth-grade basketball player. He chalked up the clergy victory to the fact the priests were “faster and smarter.”
Not faster, Rata said. Smarter, yes. “We are old veterans,” Rata said. The priests ranged in age from 32 to 47.
Sister Elizabeth Curtis, principal at Holy Spirit School, said the game was all about having a good time. “It’s good for the kids to see the priests in this light,” she said.
Reach Amy Maginnis-Honey at 427-6957 or [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/amaginnisdr.