Here’s my annual scribing of the traditional poem, localized and re-edited of course.

Twas the night before Christmas when all through the town

Basketballs were bouncing, bouncing around.

The nets were hung by the rim with care,

In hopes that Jason Simmons would soon be there.

The fans were nestled all snug in the seats at the gym,

Envisioning the Friars returning to the State Finals once again.

When, what to everyone’s wondering eyes should arrive?

But Andrea DiCanio’s three-pointer at the buzzer in the nick of time.

Without dour, without cower,

There strolled the winning coach named Dave Power.

More rapid than eagles his Friars they came,

And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name;

“Rebound Peters! Take it Kloak! It’s all you Jackson!

“Erin, Harvey, and DiCanio, great reaction!

“To the top of the key! To the top of the rankings in the state!

“Now dash away! Dash away, dash away on a Friar-frenzy fast break!”

So atop the rankings the Friars they remain,

From last year, this section of the poem hasn’t much changed

The boys at OPRF are holding their own

But things wouldn’t be so good without Jason Pontone

He throws himself at every loose ball without flinch

Coach Allen had once thought his senior had left the bench

Barnes and Sanders may be young but the points they do score

Putting the Huskies in contention for a regional title, maybe more

The Fenwick boys’ team ebbs and flows

But that win over third-ranked Hales was a lift from the woes

With Flowers, Humphrey, and Shaw leading the way

No one expects the Friars to fade away

A big tourney awaits at Proviso West

For the Friars this will surely be a test

For a team that boasts just four seniors this season

The OPRF girls are playing beyond reason

With the young’ins of Caley, Clare and Casey

And the leaders of Slaughter and Bracey

The Huskies do stand a chance

But it’s sure to be a difficult sectional to advance

Trinity’s Johnson, Albano, and Smith

Seem to be the right combination to win with

The Blazers gave even Bolingbrook a run

Fans are anxious for more to come

So let the hardwood shine, the backboard glass glisten,

All the basketball teams in Oak Park and River Forest are on a mission

To win, to have fun, to get their kicks,

Making us all look forward to 2006.

CONTACT: bspencer@wjinc.com

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Brad Spencer

Brad Spencer has been covering sports in and around Oak Park for more than a decade, which means the young athletes he once covered in high school are now out of college and at home living with their parents...