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The Aquilian

Gonzaga students take on each other in CYO championship

Gonzaga students play in a CYO game against their fellow classmates.

Shooting three pointers, breaking ankles and scoring contested lay-ups makes up for a competitive game of basketball. There will be arguments, fouls and shoving during the games, but the players leave with good memories at the end. 

CYO basketball (Catholic Youth Organization) has grown to be a competitive recreation sports league in the DMV. Many Gonzaga students play for their parish with players from other schools who also share the same parish. Other times, students will play for their friend’s parish so that they’re able to play with people they know. 

Recently, the CYO league started its playoffs for each division. At Gonzaga, many students are in the playoffs, lost in the playoffs or succeeded into the championship for their division. Steele Dombo, junior, and John Allen, senior, played against each other in the older division for the CYO championship. Allen plays for Holy Redeemer, and Dombo plays for Blessed Sacrament.

For his age, Dombo has the height and weight to be a force in the paint. He led his team through the regular season as top three in scoring amongst his teammates. 

“During the regular season, we didn’t give enough effort, especially on defense. […] We were number one in the league for points scored but also first for points scored on,” Dombo said.

His biggest moment, besides Gonzaga rugby games, has been playing in this CYO championship and playing against other Gonzaga students.

“It was a crucial game. It was the playoff championship game so we stepped up. We dug deep, found their weaknesses and scored against their weaker players.We were down 16 and came back from a 16-point lead and beat em’ with a minute left,”Dombo said. 

Dombo had a great championship game dishing out passes to his teammates and scoring contested buckets in the paint. Going against Dombo was Allen and the Holy Redeemer team. Allen’s built like a long straw; he moves down the court awkwardly but confidently and shoots threes like butter. Allen is arguably the MVP for his team, and it showed during the championship game. 

“Yeah, you know, I played as well as I could. My teammates weren’t really moving the ball, and there was a little ball hogging at the end, but when I got the ball, I was making my shots. I think we could’ve pulled out with a win if we passed the ball a little more,” Allen said. 

Allen wasn’t the only one who was scoring for his team. Although he was annoyed with the lack of ball movement, teammate Colin Romness, senior, helped out on the court. 

“Their number one point guard, Colin Romness, was very good. Colin Romness […] he had around 30 points against us. […] He was hard to guard,” Dombo said. 

While Allen and Romness tried their best to secure their team a win, Dombo and the Blessed Sacrament team ended up pulling through with a win. Winning and losing is a part of playing a sport. Everyone wants to be on the winning team but not everyone can be a winner. It’s not fun to lose, but Gonzaga students enjoy playing with their friends outside of the school environment. 

“I’m super competitive with basketball, so losing sucks, but I always look forward to playing in these CYO games because I know someone from every team. […] It’s good to see the kids I don’t really see outside of school at these CYO games,” Romness said.

This was Allen’s second year playing CYO, and it was an experience he’ll never forget.

“You know, I underestimated my opponents. I thought the kids in these leagues weren’t that good, but I was wrong. We fought hard every game, and we almost pulled out a win for the championship but we just gave it up somehow. […] I’ll always thank Trevor Bonovita, senior, for a horrible inbounds pass,” Allen said.

CYO is one way to meet new people, have fun and play against your friends outside of a school environment. It’s competitive and entertaining for those who play or watch the games. Gonzaga students have a competitive spirit when talking about CYO and the CYO league will only get more competitive and enjoyable. To participate in CYO events, students just have to go to their website, or reach out to their parish youth minister for more information.  

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