BRONX, NEW YORK, January 23- Excitement filled the air at the St. Raymond High School for Boys gym on January 20 as alumni, family and friends of the school celebrated the past and present of the basketball program.
Gary DeCesare ’81 coached the St. Raymond Varsity basketball team for 16 seasons until 2003. After coaching stints with DePaul University and Richmond College, DeCesare now helms the St. Rita High School varsity team in Chicago who visited to take on St. Raymond.
St. Raymond entered the game with a record of 10-5, and a number six ranking in New York City according to MSG Varsity. More than 75 alumni from the school attended to watch DeCesare take on first year coach Jorge Lopez and the St. Raymond team. The game was exciting throughout, with St. Raymond emerging victorious by a score of 56-52. Leading the Ravens were Tory Ferguson with 15 points, Shawn Jones with 13 points, six rebounds and three assists and Luis Santos with 11 points, 13 rebounds and six blocks.
After the game, all players and fans remained in the gym as Coach DeCesare recognized the 20th anniversary of St. Raymond’s first state championship in 1993. Many of the players, managers and coaches of this team returned to celebrate the past and present of St. Raymond basketball. “It is great that so many guys were able to come back today,” said Alex Perez ’95, one of the team’s student managers.
Each player was presented with a St. Raymond windbreaker, championship t-shirt, framed photo of the team and news clippings from their historic season. “That really was a true team,” coach DeCesare said. “You had 12 guys that battled every day in practice.”
Charlton Clarke ’95 approached the podium next to provide plaques to coach DeCesare and assistant coach Greg Scott ’72 on behalf of the 1993 championship team. Coach DeCesare led St. Raymond to New York City Championships in 1991, 1993, 2000 and 2001, and state championships in 1993 and 2001.
The St. Raymond varsity team rode the momentum of the St. Rita victory into wins in their next two road contests: January 21 at Moore Catholic and January 22 at Mount St. Michael. The defending city champion Ravens are now 13-5 as they enter the final stretch of their schedule before the playoffs.
St. Raymond has been welcoming back alumni throughout the basketball season, acknowledging the 40th anniversary of the first Varsity B team and the 35th anniversary of the first freshman city championship team at the annual homecoming event in December.