CYO team wins states
Notre Dame of Bethlehem recently won the CYO high school state championship title, but the story that led to the moment is perhaps what sports is all about.
Head coach Michael Horvath, of Hanover Township, guided the kids as far back as their elementary school days.
“I’ve been coaching this group of boys since they were in the third and fourth grades from Notre Dame of Bethlehem,” Horvath said, “which eventually led to a district championship in their eighth grade year and a third-place finish in the Diocesan playoffs in 2013.”
Horvath said most of them then went on to play basketball for Bethlehem Catholic and Liberty high schools through their freshman and sophomore years, but eventually the kids moved on to other sports and interests for various reasons. But as Horvath added, their love for basketball remained intact.
“During their junior year, many of these kids got together and talked about forming a CYO high school team for our parish and approached me to see if I would coach them again,” Horvath said. “How could I say no to that?”
Last year, the kids’ first year back together, they made it to the district finals and lost. However, Horvath said the team made a commitment to come back again this year and set a goal to go all the way to states.
So, it was quite a storybook ending for their journey as they played a perfect, 17-0 regular season before winning the district, Diocesan and eventually the state championships all in one season.
Horvath said there were a lot of teaching moments and life lessons learned along the road.
“In the locker room prior to the championship game, I reminded them to play for all those high school coaches who made them feel like they were not good enough to make the cut and that while those coaches were all at home with their seasons now behind them, we were still playing to take home a state championship,” Horvath said.
Horvath said he would love to put his team up against any of the teams in the East Penn Conference this year.
“It would be fun to see how we stack up and what some local coaches might have missed out on,” Horvath said. “One thing I can say for certain about this team is their resilience and level of determination to not be denied the goals they set out to accomplish. I am so very proud of them and how they have grown over the years both on and off the court.”
The team was made up of: Gabe Albino, Drew Bartos, Max Dillman, Nate Gehringer, Mark Horvath, Matt Horvath, Mike Perrault, Alex Super and Colby Treadwell.