The Scots Boys Basketball Team spent the first five days of the holiday break in New York City. Coach John O'Connell brought back their popular educational trip with 3 games and 2 practices squeezed into a very busy schedule.
With the amazing help from their host and tour guide, Fred Agnostakis (AD and Basketball Coach at Loyola School), the trip was a great success. On Friday, December 16, The boys practiced at Loyola School (83rd and Park Ave.) in preparation for the Loyola Christmas Festival.
On Saturday, December 17, The Scots beat the prestigious Collegiate School 72-40 with all twelve players contributing to the victory. That evening, the boys walked through Central Park past the Bethesda Fountain, down Poets Row to South Central Park to 5th Avenue. On a very crowded night, the boys went to St Patrick's Cathedral, Niketown, and other landmarks on their way to Rockefeller Center for photo ops at the Christmas Tree, then past Radio City Music Hall and a distant picture of Times Square.
On Sunday, December 18, the team showed up early to Loyola School to watch the World Cup Championship Game. Unfortunately, they could not see the overtime classic because of the championship game schedule. However, Saint Andrew's beat Frederick Douglas HS (Bronx, NY) 47-36 to win the Loyola Christmas Festival. Andrew Sineway, Brooklyn Vick and Alex Montes were named to the All-Tournament Team. Following the game the team enjoyed teammate Shyamaa Karthik's Birthday party in the school's cafeteria.
On Monday, December 19, the team took a day off from basketball to get a tour of the World Trade Center section of Lower Manhattan. The boys got off the subway into the brand new Oculus which led us to the Freedom Tower, the Twin Tower Memorial Footprints and New York and World Stock Exchange. We also visited St. Paul's Church, Manhattan's oldest surviving church which was only 100 yards away from the collapsing buildings, and Trinity Episcopal Church on Wall Street which were George Washington's churches 250 years ago. Fred Agnostakis, a native of Manhattan, spent many volunteer hours at Ground Zero and was the perfect tour guide.
Brooklyn Vick and Sam Ndu missed the World Trade Center trip to make recruiting visits. Brooklyn and his father went to Rutgers University where the BIG 10 school pulled out the red carpet for Brooklyn. Sam and his mom had a change of plans because Brooklyn College invited Sam on Campus after watching him play on Saturday.
On Tuesday, December 20, the boys got up early to catch a New Jersey Transit train to New Brunswick, NJ to play Coach O'Connell's Alma Mater Rutgers Prep School. It was a very festive trip with a surprise Christmas parade through New Brunswick and Alumni celebrations at Rutgers Prep. The return of Coach O'Connell caused a packed gym and a tough loss for the Scots. Coach O'Connell '78 is in the RPS Hall of Fame along with his brother Rory '76. The game was played in the Dick O'Connell Athletic Center and the post game meal was in the Pegeen O'Connell Dining Commons (Parents of John O'Connell). John's sister, Tara is the Admissions Director and nephew Ryan Klipstein, is the Athletic Director at RPS. Needless to say, they have certainly made an impact on that school since 1951.
On Wednesday, December 21, the boys chartered back to the airport where many families went in different directions and all over the world. The team and several family members experienced metro travel on Buses, Subways and Trains. There were offshoot trips to Harlem, Times Square, ChinaTown and Brooklyn. Everybody joined in on a couple great walks through Central Park with photo ops in front of The Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museum of Natural History. There is nothing like Manhattan at Christmas time!
The Scots will be back in action at home on January 5th against Palm League opponent, The University School, at 7:00 PM.