Saint Charles CYO Bears Basketball Team Packs Bleachers for the “Wild West of Basketball”


Courtesy of Robert Sandeen

The St. Charles Bears pose after a game this season

Robert Sandeen, Staff Writer

During the height of the high school basketball season, another team was the topic of conversation in the halls of Cinnaminson High School, not the highly successful 18-10 Pirates.

The Saint Charles CYO Basketball team, known as the “Bears,” have drawn a lot of attention to themselves, filling the bleachers with dedicated fans. The Bears are in the CYO league, which only allows players who choose not to play high school basketball. Based around local catholic churches, they have practice twice a week and games typically on the weekends. Admission is free for spectators, resulting in packed gyms ready to cheer on their team.

Interviews with key players give insight on why their team’s bond and style creates talk and draws all kinds of people to their games. The players also have a strong bond on the court and in the practice room. Jon Edmondson called his teammates “Brothers.” The players practice twice a week, but they make it clear that this team is no social club.

“Everyone is working really hard,” senior Ryan Kissling continued, “We like to perform.”

A brother-like bond and a culture of hard work help to elevate the team’s game. Although off to a rocky, 1-3 start, they only see growth from here on.

On the court, it becomes apparent that every player is their own cog in the machine; every player has an unfiltered, unrefined playing style.

Kissling described himself as a “dynamic rebounder,” while fellow senior Joe Smith sees himself as a “street baller” and senior Cole Wojokowski envisions himself as a “tricky dribbler, like the streetballer, the Professor.”

The Bears’ games are not only a mosaic of basketball styles. The games are chaotic, loud, and have the fans constantly on their feet. What makes the games so entertaining are the wild exchanges, because anything can happen.

“The intensity is unmatched, it can become more intense than a high school game,” said Wojokowski.

Due to the grassroots nature of the league, the games are messy, with plenty of controversial foul calls, but the games are great nonetheless.

The CYO Basketball games are a true example of the sporting spectacle, and due to its turbulent qualities, the fans keep coming back.

“We have some really dedicated fans,” continued Smith, “Some who come to every game and cheer us on.”

These games are the “Wild West of high school basketball,” creating an enjoyable time for players and fans alike. Games are free to attend, and the Bears always welcome support.