Since Ara Asadoorian took over as the head coach of the St. Mary’s of the Hills seventh and eighth grade boys basketball team in 2013, the program has risen to unfathomable heights. The team finished in second place in the South Shore Parochial School League (SSPSL) in 2015 and then rose to Regional Champions in 2017-2018 before enjoying an undefeated regular season in 2018-2019.
Like so many things, the COVID-19 pandemic stunted the team’s momentum, canceling the season that followed. It was around that time that Asadoorian stepped down as coach, and the school would be unable to replace him, forcing the program to be suspended through the 2022 campaign.
Wanting to save a once-proud franchise of the SSPSL and once again having the urge to lead again, “Coach A,” as he is known, returned to man the sidelines for the SMOTH Saints once again, bringing the team back for the 2022-2023 season. What a return it was.
Asadoorian and his team glided to a 16-2 season, capturing another SSPSL championship, a Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston championship, and finishing in third place at the New England CYO tournament during the weekend of March 31 and April 1. It was almost as if they had never left.
Upon his return, Asadoorian began working with his squad back in October, having to quickly make up for lost time. It would serve a challenge more difficult than it needed to be.
Without a gym, the team would have to improvise in the school cafeteria and occasionally have to go outside to the playgrounds while dealing with the cold. All their home matches would have to be played at Immaculate Conception in Weymouth.
As Asadoorian said, it really was something out of the movie “Hoosiers,” starring Gene Hackman, but it wouldn’t have an effect on the motivated Saints.
“I knew right from day one we were going to be good,” Asadoorian said. “I’ve coached for about 10 years now and this was far and away the most successful season we’ve ever had.”
St. Mary’s sprinted out to a 4-0 start, winning by an average score of 26 points. The only squeaker came in the second game of the season against Trinity Catholic Academy of Brockton, where the Saints would escape with a 47-46 victory.
It would be on Jan. 14 that SMOTH would face defeat at the hands of a Massachusetts foe, falling at Archbishop Williams in overtime 39-36, although it had a golden opportunity to force the game to a second extra frame.
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