Seminarians win sixth annual Hoops Challenge against Quo Vadis

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This year's Seminarian Hoops Challenge Jan. 3 was an intense struggle for the win between diocesan seminarians and the Vocations Office's high school team, Quo Vadis. The scores were neck and neck until the final buzzer with both teams pulling off some great plays.Father Bjorn C. Lundberg, Saint John Paul the Great Catholic High School chaplain, said, "It is nice to see the seminarians working as a team since they will be working as a team in the priesthood, and it was also good to see them bring their different talents to the game."The seminarians muscled their way to a narrow lead in the final seconds of the fourth quarter only to have Quo Vadis score a 3-pointer and tie them before the final buzzer. With only three seconds on the clock, the seminarians' coach Joe Townsend called a timeout to draw out their final play. At the whistle, seminarian Nicholas Blank hurled the ball from beyond half court to his teammate under the basket, only to have it slip through the receiver's fingers. In an instant the ball was scooped up by seminarian John Paul Heisler who banked it against the backboard for a 2-point lead as the final buzzer rang. The cheers from family and friends in the stands soon drowned out the sound of the buzzer as both teams congratulated each other on what Father Brian G. Bashista, chaplain at Marymount University and former director of vocations, called the "best ending to a Quo Vadis seminarian game" in the history of the challenge. The final score was 54-52.

Father Joel D. Jaffe, director of vocations, announced that pizza would be served for all the players and their fans, making the event a win-win for both sides. "This game is important for the seminarians because it builds fellowship between us and also helps us connect with the Quo Vadis group so we can get to know them and help them if we can," said Sean Koehr, a seminarian at Mount St. Mary's Seminary in Emmitsburg.Heisler, who scored the winning basket, recalled being very active in the Quo Vadis group before entering the seminary. After playing for the Quo Vadis team in the Hoops Challenge for three years, this was his first year playing on the seminarian side. "On the court today I remembered how Father Jaffe had mentioned to me after one of the games that I could be playing on the seminarian side soon. I didn't realize I would be on this side so soon," he said. "Being around seminarians as peers is very helpful in the discernment process and is one of the things that make this event great for young men discerning the priesthood."

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Photos from the game can be purchased here.

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2015