The 2012-13 Connecticut high school boys basketball season doesn't tip off until Dec. 12, but Fairfield County fans will have a chance to get an early taste of the action next Saturday afternoon when Fairfield Prep plays host to perennial national power St. Anthony (N.J.) in an exhibition game at Alumni Hall.
St. Anthony, ranked No. 12 in the MaxPreps preseason Xcellent poll, is coached by Basketball Hall of Famer Bob Hurley Sr.
Hurley has coached the Friars for 39 seasons, leading them to 26 state championships and over 1,000 victories. The small parochial Jersey City school, chronicled in the 2005 book "The Miracle of St. Anthony" by Yahoo! Sports writer Adrian Wojnarowski as well as a recent "60 Minutes" report, has felt the burden of difficult financial times. Saturday's game at 4:30 p.m. -- and reception afterward -- will serve as a defacto fundraiser for St. Anthony.
The idea of the exhibition came to Jesuits coach Leo Redgate and he called Hurley in November to see if he'd be interested in bringing his team to Fairfield County.
"I said, you're the best team in the country, I know the school is suffering financially," Redgate said. "Wouldn't it help to come an hour north to Fairfield County and show what the best team in the country looks like?"
St. Anthony features an impressive backcourt of Temple-bound Josh Brown and Oregon State-bound Hallice Cooke.
Fairfield Prep comes off a 22-4 season where it loss in the Class LL semifinals to SCC rival Hillhouse. The Jesuits return Tim Butala, a Division I prospect, and add former Trinity Catholic 7-footer Paschal Chukwu to its ranks.
Tickets for the game are $5 (kids under 10 free), while the reception afterward -- which includes a speech from Hurley -- is $25 with all net proceeds going to St. Anthony.
"I honestly thought it could be a win/win situation," Redgate said. "My team -- and the Fairfield County area in general -- could see his team play. My team could play against one of the best in the country as a final tuneup. It would be great for them to get some more exposure."