Iona Prep, Stepinac play 7-game series because of COVID restrictions


Getting approved to have a basketball season was only half the battle for Iona Prep; the next step was finding opponents for their shortened season.

A majority of schools in their Catholic High School Athletic Association “AA” league are located in New York City. Because the city health department hasn’t given any schools the clearance to have a season, Iona was limited with options on who to play.

The Gaels decided to turn their problem into an opportunity for something special.

“Biggest takeaway is we did something historic, unprecedented in high school basketball,” Iona Prep head coach Steve Alvarado told PIX 11 News. “Whatever the outcome is, no matter what it’s a victory.”

That history Alvarado is referencing is Iona’s decision to turn the annual Brother Stoldt series into a best-of-seven with Stepinac. Instead of playing just two games against each other, the longtime rivals have a chance to extend it out like the NBA playoff series.

The idea initially started out as a joke between Alvarado and Stepinac head coach Patrick Massaroni, but gained momentum since the two coaches are doubtful about the city Health Department’s next steps.

“I would say looking back at it, it’s something that is spectacular because I don’t think there has ever been a seven-game-series before in high school,” said Iona Prep junior RJ Greene.

Stepinac won game one of the series 56-47 last week. Below is a schedule of the remaining games. No fans are permitted.

Game 2 @ Iona Prep — Tuesday, March 2nd
Game 3 @ Stepinac — Friday, March 5th
Game 4 @ Stepinac
Game 5 @ Iona Prep (If necessary)
Game 6 @ Stepinac (If necessary)
Game 7 @ Iona Prep (If necessary) 

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