CMLA basketball offers competitive and fun entertainment

Henry+Guynn+poses+with+his+OLA+team%2C+which+he+nicknamed+the+%22ballin%27+Bobcats%22

Henry Guynn poses with his OLA team, which he nicknamed the “ballin’ Bobcats”

The months of January and February are packed with many causes for celebration, such as New Year’s Resolutions, Girl Scout cookie sales, the Super Bowl and Valentine’s Day. But there is another activity stirring up the pot during the first months of the year: CMLA basketball.

The Catholic Metro League of Atlanta is familiar to many students, who may have played basketball, soccer, or volleyball at their Catholic grade schools. The high school division gives students a chance to relive their middle school glory days.

According to junior Emily Wood, the teamwork aspect of the league is her favorite part.

“Everyone at school gets to play together,” she said. “Teamwork makes the dream work!”

The high school league is known for being more laid back, with the majority of the players being basketball amateurs. Seniors Liza Karalexis and Charlotte Graddock are looking forward to this component, as neither has much experience playing basketball.

“I’m mostly excited to make a fool out of myself in front of everyone,” Karalexis said. Graddock agreed.

However, the league can still have its competitive moments. Sometimes, a team made up of only St. Pius students may be matched against an all-Marist or Blessed Trinity team.

“It’s fun to play against teams from other schools,” Graddock said. “You can be aggressive without the possibility of holding grudges.”

Other players change it up, participating alongside friends from different high schools. Senior Calvan Chase is one of these students.

“There are a couple of Pius kids on my team,” Chase said. “But it’s mostly people who go to other schools.”

Players sign up through an Archdiocesan grade school and wear the uniform of that program. Students play for St. Thomas More, Our Lady of the Assumption, Christ the King and St. John Neumann, just to name a few. Some students pair their uniforms with accessories, such as sweatbands, arm bands, fancy socks and eye black.

“I wear my blue headband every game,” Wood said. “It shows that I take it seriously, as everyone should.”

Practices vary for each team. Wood’s team doesn’t practice at all, while Karalexis’ and Graddock’s team frequently leaves early to go get ice cream or smoothies. Chase’s team scrimmages another senior team on Monday nights.

“Hanging out with friends is my favorite part,” he said. “It can get competitive at times, but overall it’s relaxed and fun.”

Some teams to look out for include a girls St. Jude team of St. Pius sophomores, who have yet to win a game. This doesn’t keep them from having a blast.

“It’s so much fun,” said sophomore Mary Parker Lynch. “No one cares how bad you are and accepts all of your horrible basketball skills. We even lost our last game 85-5 but no one cared!”

One of the most memorable moments from the season was junior Henry Guynn’s game-saving shot against his classmate Chad DeWitt’s team. DeWitt had just scored a three-pointer to tie the score, but Guynn was not ready to give up.

“It was exhilarating, pure adrenaline, catch and shoot type of deal,” he said. “That four-footer hit the glass, and I just said a prayer. This is for the kids.”

Guynn also noted that all three of his team’s wins have been by two points or less.

“It’s been so hard on my heart,” he said, clutching his chest.

If you are looking for some fun moments, be sure to sign up for CMLA basketball next November.