The St. Mary’s High School girls basketball program will be getting some national exposure this winter when it competes in the KSA Classic at Disney’s Wide World of Sports Complex in Lake Buena Vista, Florida.
Coach Jeffrey Newhall, his assistant coaches, and players will leave from Logan Airport on Dec. 15 for the four-day tournament that will bring together elite high school girls basketball teams from across the United States.
The Lady Spartans will play three games in an eight-team bracket and the games will count toward their regular season record.
“We jumped at the opportunity to be a part of a prestigious national tournament,” said Newhall. “It’s great for our basketball team to go in to a tournament outside the state that counts toward your regular season. Not only is it an enjoyable experience – some of our kids haven’t been to Disney World – but you’re also playing in meaningful basketball games. It’s something we’re really looking forward to. This experience will help us on and off the court to build as a team.”
St. Mary’s has become a perennial Top 20 team and a contender for the Division 3 state title during Newhall’s tenure. The Lady Spartans have reached the North semifinals the past two seasons, falling to eventual sectional champion Pentucket on both occasions.
St. Mary’s has four returning starters, Tori Faieta, Kirsten Ferrari, Cassi Amenta, and Molly Carey, who are the captains of the 2010-11 squad. The Lady Spartans open their season on Dec. 13 against Austin Prep. After a day of practice in Lynn, it will be off to Disney the next morning for basketball, sunshine, theme parks, and fun.
During its trip to Florida, the St. Mary’s contingent will visit Disney’s Magic Kingdom, EPCOT (Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow) Hollywood Studios, and Animal Kingdom. There will be a “Celebration of Athletes” party for all players participating in the basketball tournament. An awards ceremony during which MVP trophies will be presented, will be held at the conclusion of the tournament.
Newhall said the program has begun fundraising activities to help defray expenses for the trip. Some of the local organizations that have contributed to the St. Mary’s trip include Neil DeTeso of Rydell, Barry and O’Connor Insurance, Greater Lynn Babe Ruth, District Attorney Jon Blodgett, John’s Oil, East Boston Savings Bank, Broadway Barbers, Lazy Dog Sports Bar, Lynnway Sportscenter, State Rep. Steve Walsh, and U.S. Senator Scott Brown.
The basketball games in the KSA Classic will be played at the same athletic complex that hosts the National Pop Warner Football and Cheerleading Championships. The West Lynn Pop Warner ‘B’ team competed in the youth football tournament at Disney last December.