The Hot Shot team from St. Anthony Parish in Tigard poses proudly with medals and trophy after the Catholic Youth Organization tournament. Coach Lindsey Culver led the crew of first- and second-graders. (Courtesy CYO)
The Hot Shot team from St. Anthony Parish in Tigard poses proudly with medals and trophy after the Catholic Youth Organization tournament. Coach Lindsey Culver led the crew of first- and second-graders. (Courtesy CYO)

The 2020 Catholic Youth Organization winter Hots Shots season had almost 550 participants on 52 teams, up from 46 teams last year. The popular co-ed basketball program is an introduction to the game for first- and second-graders.

Coaches teach fundamentals during a 30-minute warm-up before games, which are held on Saturdays. Passing, dribbling, shooting, and making moves to the basket are popular drills.

Once the game begins, no one keeps official score. The aim is to emphasize fun and learning. Coaches roam the court during the game, helping players with their skills. Before each game, someone reads the CYO prayer and parent statement as a reminder that the game is about the kids’ enjoyment.

There are seven regular season games. The season ended with an optional tournament Feb. 22 with 42 teams. All received a trophy and each participant was awarded a medal, a highlight moment for most. 

“The best part of the program is watching the tremendous growth in skill for each participant,” said a statement from CYO.

The organization considers Hot Shots a vital part of its total basketball program. 

“At a young age, the kids and their families are introduced to CYO and begin to understand what the organization is about,” CYO said in its statement. “They get an opportunity to experience firsthand the CYO philosophy and mission where each player is treated fairly with the opportunity to grow as a player and individual.”

The statement also expressed gratitude for volunteers. About 1,500 people pitch in at CYO each year.