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Youth Basketball Brings Kids, Parents Together

MAMARONECK, N.Y. -- Lori Casper takes special pride in signing her children up for St. Vito's basketball, as an alumnus of the Catholic Church's girls basketball team.

The Mamaroneck resident's daughter, Tava, 10, and son, Joey, 8, will follow in her footsteps and return for another season.

"I would say, out of all the sports they play, they most look forward to playing basketball at St. Vito's," Casper said.

Casper's long-time friend and former St. Vito's teammate, Shelly Magrino, registered her daughter, Gianna, 10, for the fifth-grade team. She also registered her son, Michael, for the St. Vito's clinic, which is a non-competitive instructional league that introduces first and second graders to the fundamentals of the game.

"Because the program is so great, I'm putting my son, Michael, in the clinic," Magrino said.

While Casper and Magrino are both parishioners, St. Vito's CYO program accepts up to three non-parishioners on a team. However, if a team has more than three, they are considered a "center team" and, thus, not allowed to play in the playoffs.

Tony Martino, co-coordinator of St. Vito's basketball, suffered that fate last season. His sixth-grade girls squad went 12-1 on the season, but weren't allowed to compete in the playoffs because they had six non-parishioners.

Francis Sevean, who also coached that team, registered his daughter, Jessica, 10, Thursday. The Rye Neck resident said he is always surprised at how energetic his daughter, as well as his players, are when it comes to St. Vito's basketball.

"We make them run hard and play hard," Sevean said.

Alexa Garcia doesn't mind the hustle, she just loves playing, according to her mother, Elizabeth. "She's so excited to be playing again," Elizabeth said. "She really looks forward to it."

The season begins around Thanksgiving, and wraps up Feb. 14 with a post-playoff, round-robin tournament.

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