Helping the Christ the King eighth-grade basketball team to a hugely successful season, Aiden Henderson was a go-to guard for the Screaming Eagles.
But for Henderson, his elementary school career wasn’t over just yet.
Playing in the Southside Catholic Conference (SCC) All-Star game, Henderson poured in 12 points and added 2 steals, 2 assists and 2 rebounds to help Team Red to an exciting 51-49 victory on March 24 over Team Blue.
The game was played at St. Rita High School.
“It’s great to be named an All-Star,” Henderson said. “We were playing well this season, and I think we all earned it. I know the guys pretty well, seeing them at different high school camps. It’s good to know a lot of people in basketball.”
Christ the King won league championships in both the SCC and the South Suburban Basketball League (SSBL).
Working in conjunction with the SCC, the Tom Hopkins Foundation brought the youth All-Star games back to life this season after the annual games across a handful of sports drifted away over the last 10 years.
In the fall, football and girls volleyball were hosted, boys basketball and girls volleyball in the winter and a boys volleyball game will be hosted this spring.
Along with Henderson’s big day, Most Holy Redeemer’s Tommy Hosty (9 points, 3 rebounds), Christ the King’s Peter Stanton (8 points, 3 rebounds, 2 steals) and St. Daniel the Prophet’s Mitchell Street (6 points, 8 rebounds) led Team Red.
Hosty was an All-Star in the fall as well in helping lead MHR to the Gold Ball championship in football.
“It felt good to be in both of the All-Star games with basketball and football,” Hosty said. “It wasn’t that hard [going from football to basketball]. It was pretty easy to make the transition.”
Team Red raced out to a commanding 33-19 halftime advantage.
“It’s not intimidating playing in an All-Star game,” Hosty said. “We know who everyone is, so you just go out and play. It’s pretty easy to play with the All-Stars.”
The Team Red roster included St. Christina’s Jake Sellis (2 rebounds, steal) and Jace Zlotkowski (2 points, 3 rebounds, block), St. Damian’s Nathan Dunaj (2 points) and Jeff Wessel (2 points, 8 rebounds), St. John Fisher’s Vinny Stubitsch and Seamus O’Leary, St. Dan’s Mateo Velazquez, St. Bede’s Antonio Godoy (2 points, steal) and St. Patricia’s Dominic Talaga (2 points, 2 steals).
Team Red was coached by the Christ the King coaching staff, Terry McGuire, Matt Cutrara and John Wilson.
Down 14 at halftime, Team Blue rallied with a huge second-half effort. Cutting the deficit to just 2 points in the final minute, Cardinal Bernardin’s Bryson Dagon just missed the potential game-winning 3-pointer just before the buzzer.
Still, the All-Star game experience was a success even in defeat.
“That three looked good,” said St. Cajetan guard Mikey Flynn. “We started pressing [in the second half], getting more rebounds, playing physical and going to the basket. We were calm and having fun playing with some friends.”
Flynn (5 points, 2 steals) and his Warriors teammate Timmy Swanson (4 points, 2 rebounds) were key players for a St. Cajetan squad that finished as league runner-up in both the SCC and SSBL.
“It was kind of positive, but it was tough,” Flynn said. “We had to work through some hard teams. We had good chemistry as a team. We knew we had a great year.”
Queen of Martyrs forward Marcus Harris led Team Blue with 10 points and 4 rebounds. St. Michael’s Kevin Finn (9 points, 3 rebounds), Dagon (7 points), St. Barnabas’ Will Loehr (5 points, 3 rebounds) and St. Catherine of Alexandria’s Adam McBrearty (5 points) led a balanced Team Blue attack.
Harris scored 4 points in the fourth to help jump-start the Blue rally.
“I had good teammates against good competition,” Harris said. “It was fun to play with these guys. Hopefully we can play again. We had to go into the paint and go hard. We just came up a little bit short in the end.”
The Blue roster also included St. Michael’s Peter Vrdolyak (5 rebounds, 2 blocks), Cardinal Bernardin’s Peter Baio (2 points, 3 rebounds), St. Barnabas’ Brendan Reilly, St. Catherine’s Quinn Dunleavy (2 rebounds, steal), St. Linus’ Seamus Payne (2 rebounds), Noonan Academy’s Kobe Mosby (2 points, 5 rebounds, 2 blocks) and St. Germaine’s Quinn Daley (2 rebounds).
St. Cajetan Coach Bob Flynn and St. Michael Coach Pete Vrdolyak led Team Blue.
For Harris, it was an exciting way to wrap up his time wearing a Martyrs uniform.
“I really liked it and really enjoyed the game,” Harris said. “It was a lot of fun. I want to keep it up and keep working hard.”
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