St. Bernard Basketball
Practices begin in early October as other sports wind down. The games start about November 20th, and after about 20 games, ends in February. We play in any of three leagues, Hartford, Manchester and Enfield CYO.
JV Boys(Grades 5-6) Hartford Archdiocese games are generally held at St. Bernard Gym (Saturday’s at 9am -12 noon) some games may be away (St Gabriel/Windsor, Corpus Christi/Wethersfield, Bulkeley High / Hartford). Manchester League games are during the week. We skip practices when we play in the Manchester League. Sunday Enfield CYO games are held at St. Adalbert Gym (Sunday’s at noon or later). Varsity boys(Grades 7-8) play Enfield CYO games on Friday nights at St. Adalberts and Hartford Archdiocese games on Sunday mornings at Bulkeley High in Hartford. We don’t play at St. Bernard gym as it is too small for Varsity basketball.
Practices for JV & Varsity Boys are generally Tuesday and Thursday’s at 6pm - 8pm. Girls practices to be determined. We are still in need of players and a coach for that team! We practice some Saturdays as needed.
Playoffs begin for the Enfield League in mid-February and for the Hartford Archdiocese League in late February early March. The Enfield league is made up of Holy Family, St. Martha’s, St. Bernard’s, and St. Mary in Simsbury. The winning Hartford Archdiocese team heads to the “All New England Championship” playoffs in early March. They are often held in Boston or Hartford. These playoffs are what makes CYO ball great as there are playoffs beyond the local league, unlike Town Travel Basketball.
CYO follows the rules of High School basketballball. Games will run in four 7 or 8 minute quarters, depending on the league, or 15 minute halves. Time stops as in high school games for out of bounds, fouls or timeout situations.
The league has rules that require us to designate our team as a “School” or “Parish” team. The reasons and rules why are complicated. Whichever division we select requires us to play in a playoff for that system. If we are a school team (TBD) it means your family must be registered as a member of St. Bernard’s school. If we are a Parish team then all players families must be a member of the church. Call Jackie Yiznitsky at the rectory to join St. Bernard’s Church at 749-8353. Please discuss with me for further clarification.
We do not play or practice if there is inclement weather or if the schools were closed on that day for any reason.
Grades, Faith and Behavior:
Grades and school work are important. A “C” average or better is required to play. You must make sure your child achieves their grades first so they can play. Most parents are on top of this and so if your child needs to miss a practice or game due to school work please do what you need to do and just let the coaches know beforehand.
The Coaches and the kids are to coach and play with Christian beliefs and demeanor. Obviously, no bad language or disrespect is allowed. We are to play hard but also fair and with Christian ideals. Kids get knocked down and have to learn to “dust themselves off and get up” and help others up. There is to be no retaliation during practices or games. If these rules are consistently broken then kids or coaches may be dismissed from the team. There are codes of conduct for coaches, players and spectators per the Office of Religious Education(ORE) and the Office of Catholic Schools(OCS). Adherence by all is required or be subject to dismissal from activities.
We teach boy’s JV and girls teams’ basic dribbling, defense, proper shooting skills, passing, body positioning, man-to-man and zone defenses. We run offensive plays and have several defenses. Varsity basketball is a bit more involved. Teamwork and sportsmanship will be paramount to everything. We will also “run” the kids through conditioning drills such as “suicides” and others as the games are full-court and they must be conditioned and ready to play. It is intense physical activity.
We always can use parents to volunteer to run the clocks, score and help with the concession stand during games. The concession work simply requires re-selling Gatorade and snacks we purchase from Costco. Profit from the stand will go to buying uniforms or basketballs or for tournaments. Varsity players will be required to volunteer for one 4 hour shift. They can earn their “service” hours with this activity.
Once selected for the team, there is a fee of about $110 for each child. This covers the league cost and for the practice (player keeps) and game jersey(school provides). The church provides entrance to one league for each team each year.. Most towns charge $200-$300 in participation fees, plus uniform costs for Travel B-Ball. We are able to keep our league more affordable as we do not have to pay for court time or insurance costs.
We will need a copy of each player’s birth certificate. If you played last year, no need to provide them again. Each JV child must not be 13 by December 31st each season to play grade 5-6 JV basketball. Varsity and girls have different age maximums (not 15 by December 31).
What equipment do I need:
All boys must have basketball sneakers -- without exception. We recommend white socks, athletic shorts and tee shirts for practice and the game uniform must be worn for the games. I suggest mouth pieces as well. Have your dentist make them for your son or you can get them for $5-$10 at Dicks. We will have basketballs for the practices but encourage your child to bring his own ball.
Players should bring filled non-breakable water bottles or Gatorade to both practices and games. Having their own water etc. shortens or eliminates any trips to the fountains and I can keep an eye on all the boys. Make sure your child’s name is clearly marked on the bottle.
Team Play and Attendance:
Do not access the gym from the front door except for games on weekends or days other than Wednesday night CCD. The school requires that all kids enter from the Gym’s side door on Wednesdays. We do not want kids or siblings running in the halls at any time.
JV Selection - The ORE and the OCS allows only 5th – 6th grade kids play on the JV teams and 4th graders if space allows. There are “no-cuts” at this level. Only in the case of danger to the child is a child asked to try town recreational basketball for the season. Equal time play does go to the 5th or 6th graders during the season or at crunch time. There will be a lot of times we will provide good playing time to all younger kids (4th grade).
The goal of the ORE for JV and girls games is to play everyone equally (playing time) in position’s suited for their skills. This does not always occur though as kids who have the ability to handle the ball or shoot well will remain in games to keep us in games that are close. We will try to substitute to the positions that can afford the less skilled players being in the games. This is a competitive league and if totally equal playing time is your family’s desire then I suggest your local recreation league be sought where that is a requirement.
If a child does not play in a certain game, they will play in the next appropriate game. We rotate 4th graders to have them attend certain games where the competition is equal if we have a lot of extra kids from the 4th grade for JV ball.
Varsity selection - The ORE and the OCS recognizes and decrees that the Varsity league shall be run as a “competitive league”. Team cuts after tryouts will occur. Playing time is based on talent, knowledge of basketball, and attendance at practices.
If you fail to bring your son to the practices and games it may have an impact on your child’s playing time. We play the kids that attend practices. We can’t play kids who don’t know the plays. Some kids will need a lot of practice to become game-ready. We should be running on all cylinders by mid-November and be ready for games. We expect kids to make mistakes as they will learn from those mistakes.
Basketball has been my favorite sport and I hope I pass on my passion for it on to the kids. If you have any questions, please feel free contact me at the email above.
Thanks for your consideration,
Director of Basketball – St Bernard Parish and School