Being crowned the Men’s “A” League intramural basketball champion at Fairfield is one of the most prestigious honors for an intramural athlete. Although no one on the court in the championship game is a Division I college basketball player, the intensity level is just as high if not higher than a Division I basketball game.

Intramural Supervisor Nick Venuti said, “This is the most anticipated game of the season.” Fellow supervisor Justin Casenta added with a smile, “Kid’s care more about intramurals than they do their grades.”

This year the Men’s “A” League Championship went to the “Mary Surette’s” who defeated “Buckets Magee” 64-58.

The Fairfield RecPlex was the sight of the “A” league championship game Wednesday night that featured the number one seeded “Mary Surette’s” talking on the number two seed “Buckets Magee”. The “Mary Surette’s” are a team of seniors lead by crafty point guard Brendan McKenna, and big man Bob Kelly. Their counterparts “Buckets Magee” are a team of all juniors lead by their own big man Kristian Petric, and sharpshooter Mike Valovcin. The previous two years Petric’s teams had gone undefeated in the regular season. However, both seasons they failed to win a playoff game.

Before the game Petric said, “We thought we could win it our freshman and sophomore year, this year we want it more, we are more mature.”

The 2010 championship game started off with a bang as the “Mary Surette’s” came out firing off the tip. They started the game on a 9-2 run in the first 4 minutes capped off by an easy layup by Bob Kelly. However, “Buckets Magee” climbed back into the game with the help of Valovcin’s shooting and the aggressive play of Mike Spinelli and Justin Bomba. At the end of the first half the “Mary Surette’s” were clinging to a 31-26 lead.

McKenna said, “I felt our offense was a little slow right before the half so I wanted to push the pace a little bit.”

McKenna not only pushed the pace, he was the catalyst of an 11-2 run to start the half to extend “Mary Surette’s” lead to 43-28. McKenna himself scored the first five points of the half including a critical three-point play to put his team up ten.

McKenna said, “My teammates found me for shots and I just hit them.”

“Buckets Magee” would not let up as they cut the lead to nine with just over four minutes left. However it seemed whenever “Buckets Magee” went on a run the “Mary Surette’s” always had a response, this time it was a 9-2 run capped off by a huge three-point basket by Joe Lucchesi to extend the lead to 59-45 with 2:20 remaining in the game

Lucchesi said, “My shot had been feeling pretty good all night. I knew that if I got an open look I was gonna knock it down.”

“Buckets Magee” had one last gasp of air going on a 6-1 run to cut the lead to 60-53 with 50 seconds remaining. However, the “Mary Surette’s” were able to hold on to win the championship, and earn the coveted “Fairfield Intramural Champions” T-shirts that are given to every intramural champion regardless of sport at Fairfield.

Senior Bob Kelly was a vital part of the victory, finishing with 10 points and racking up numerous rebounds. He said, “Everyone did their part, it takes five to make a team.”

McKenna said, “We are going out the right way, I have the best teammates.”

McKenna played one of the best games of his intramural career, scoring 19 points with a slew of assists that had the crowd in awe of his athleticism.

Although the loss stings for “Buckets Magee,” they showed a great deal of respect for the opposition, and with just about their whole roster expected to return next year, they are the early favorite to win the championship in 2011.

Petric, who finished with nine points said, “I thought we played well, they were the better team tonight.” Petric also issued a challenge to all “A” league squads next year stating, “Nobody’s gonna be able to touch us.”

With the intramural basketball season now finished, many intramural athletes will set their sights on bringing home a T-shirt in softball, arena football, or any of the numerous spring sports that the intramural department has to offer.

Venuti stated, “I feel bad for the kids that don’t play intramurals here, they don’t know what their missing.”

For McKenna, Kelly, Lucchesi and the rest of the “Mary Surette’s” they will remember this win for the rest of their lives and will always be able to look back at their senior year and know they left a legacy as “A” league champions.

It will be hard to find someone who cherishes the victory more than McKenna. McKenna spends countess hours in the gym working on his game and has been waiting four years to be crowned the Men’s “A” League champion.

McKenna called Intramural basketball, “the best thing about being at Fairfield.”

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