“Practice makes perfect” was dramatically proven by the St. Aloysius fifth-grade boys team, coached by Jay Priven and Alan Golus, as it went on to win the CYO Nassau/Suffolk Championship. The boys, all residents of Great Neck, represented every elementary school in the district.
The team went 12-0 in the regular season and then, in the playoffs, proved its awesomeness by going 4-0.
Practice sessions started in October and the nine players—five returning from fourth grade and four new players joining the team—jelled right from the start.
“We knew they were a special group,” the coaches said. They had the basic basketball skills and proved to be eager learners, refining and expanding their skills to work together as a team.
Forty-five minutes of each hour-long practice session was devoted to improving these skills offensively and defensively. Limited time was spent scrimmaging against each other. If you happened to be sitting in on a practice, you could hear the coaches instructing, “swing the ball,” “pass and cut” and “slow it down on the offense”; “hands up,” “box out” and “stop the ball” was the mantra on defense. As the season progressed, spectators could see how they picked up on the game plan from week to week as they got better and better.
In the playoffs, the defense held the opponents in check while the offense rose to the occasion each time. Every player contributed to the successful season.
It’s been 10 years since St. Aloysius brought home a championship trophy, and how historic is it that the coach in both instances was Jay Priven?
The coaches are grateful to the players’ parents for their unstinting support of this team’s efforts and look forward to next season when these St. Al players return as sixth graders. Be on the lookout for announcements of CYO Basketball tryouts for next season.