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Sports Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, March 26, 2009

St. Madeleine Sophie basketball has undefeated season

By Jordan J. Michael

GUILDERLAND –– Being part of a very successful youth team can do wonders for an athlete’s growth and experience.

Phil Stire, a coach for the St. Madeleine Sophie junior boys’ A team that went 16-0 this season, told The Enterprise that the Catholic Youth Organization basketball program is a great start for successful players of the future.

“Some of these guys might try out for Guilderland basketball some day and they’ll be ready for the challenge,” Stire said. “The CYO league is very large and plenty of great names have risen out of the program.”

St. Madeleine Sophie completed its undefeated season and went on to claim the league tournament title earlier this month. The team beat St. John’s of Schenectady by one point in the title game.

“The championship game was nip and tuck the whole entire way,” said Coach Chuck Spinnato. “We had a one-point lead with 3.7 seconds left and we forced St. John’s to take a buzzer beater from half court. It was a game of good defense and great sportsmanship. There was a very loud crowd as well.”

“It’s really special for any team to go undefeated in a season,” said Stire. “The boys found a way to pull the wins out. They had a strong will.”

After beating St. Helen’s and St. Joseph’s, St. Madeleine Sophie lost to St. John’s, moving the team to the losers’ bracket of the double-elimination tournament. St. Madeleine Sophie then beat Our Lady of Assumption to earn another match up with St. John’s in the final.

“It was exciting to end up playing St. John’s again,” Spinnato said. “We beat them twice in the regular season, but they gave us a fit in the tournament. We’ve created a fun little rivalry now.”

At the same time St. Madeleine Sophie was celebrating a championship, Sue Tutolo, who the coaches call “the team mom,” was celebrating a birthday. “The team is grateful for Tutolo and all her great communication work,” said Spinnato. “She is a big part of our success and she got a great birthday gift.”

“We could talk about individual efforts but that doesn’t make much sense because this team played together all year,” Stire said. “Each player was unique in contribution to the team. Everyone made a difference.”

“I like to tell people that every player lit a different spark throughout the season,” said Spinnato. “CYO basketball develops the community and the athlete.”

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