Blogs >'s Boys Hoops Run to the Sun

Follow all the coverage of boys high school basketball throughout the state on their way to Mohegan Sun Arena, the site of this year's championship weekend, March 15-16.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Northeast Catholic Classic

The Northeast Christmas Classic has been played at St. Joseph for the past quarter-century, with boys’ basketball head coach Vito Montelli inviting Catholic schools from across the Northeast region to come play.

Next month, the classic will take on a new format, with a new venue and the first public school ever invited to play.
Three of last year’s state champions — St. Joseph (Class LL), New London (L) and Trinity Catholic (M) — along with perennial New York City powerhouse Archbishop Molloy, will play in the tournament at Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport Dec. 27-28.
On Dec. 27, Trinity Catholic will face New London at 6 p.m., followed by St. Joseph vs. Archbishop Molloy at 8. Trinity will face Molloy at 6 on Dec. 28, followed by St. Joseph vs. New London, the first public school ever invited. Trinity Catholic has been a fixture in the Classic for years.
St. Joseph coach Vito Montelli read back in March how Rhode Island matched up the reigning state champions in a final tournament to determine one champion. He said he sent the proposal to the CIAC basketball committee.
“I thought it would have been a home run,” Montelli said at Tuesday’s press conference. “Nothing came of it. When I mentioned it to Jim (Olayos, the school’s athletic director), the thought went off in his mind and he said, ‘How about we invite the champions to our tournament next year?’”
Olayos broached the idea with Howard Saffan, Webster Bank Arena’s president. Saffan said he intends to make the classic an annual event at the arena, along with other high school events.
The Northeast Classic will feature two members of the 2010-11 Register All-State team: New London guard Kris Dunn, the reigning State Player of the Year, and St. Joseph forward Timajh Parker. Dunn and Parker will be playing next year at Providence and Towson, respectively.
The four head coaches have combined for more than 2,600 wins. Archbishop Molloy is coached by Jack Curran. He succeeded Lou Carnesecca as coach in 1958 and has compiled 937 career wins. Among the players he has coached are former NBA players Kenny Smith and Kenny Anderson.
Curran and Montelli, who leads the state with 853 wins. Trinity Catholic coach Mike Walsh has 523 wins and New London’s Craig Parker has 329.
Tickets for the doubleheaders, priced at $18 and $10 for students for all four games and $10 and $8 for a single night, are already on sale at all participating schools and Webster Bank Arena.