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Hoops history makers

Condoleon honored without banquet trappings

There was no gathering of people at circular or rectangular tables, no buffet lines, speeches or presentations.

The annual Trumbull County Coaches Association basketball Player of the Year banquet was not held in late March as it normally is following the season.

The area senior basketball players being honored weren’t dressed in suits or dresses. Everyone is encouraged to stay 6 feet apart to maintain social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Instead, Newton Falls boys basketball coach Roy Sembach visited the Condoleon house. Caitlyn, a John F. Kennedy High School senior, answered the door. Sembach hoisted a trophy with a weighted bronze basketball on top and the base displaying her name on the bottom as the TCCA girls basketball senior Player of the Year.

“It was different since we were at my house. Him bringing it to me with a smile, I was really excited about it,” Condoleon said.

She is JFK’s all-time leading scorer with 1,882 points, along with Trumbull County’s career best.

Her father, John, the Eagles’ girls basketball varsity coach, has been her basketball mentor most of her life.

He’s taken Caitlyn to basketball banquets over the years. John said he’s sorry she couldn’t accept this award in a room full of players, parents and coaches, but the coronavirus pandemic has put a stop to that gathering and many others.

Nonetheless, the trophy has great meaning.

“I think the dedication, the leadership that she put in to not only her own game, but to make the team better and for our program,” John said. “It was awesome to coach her. It was awesome to look at that trophy and think the hard work and dedication she put forth for our basketball program.”

Caitlyn, who averaged 27.1 points per game last season, would’ve gone to the podium and given her acceptance speech. One can only imagine what that would have been like that particular night.

“First, that I’m really proud in general to receive this kind of award,” said Condoleon, who is playing at Westminster (Pa.) College next season. “It’s really an honor to be thought of so highly by the Trumbull County Coaches Association.

“I want to thank my coaches, especially my dad, my mom and my whole family in general for always supporting me and being there through everything, whether it’s long hauls to games or at home talking about the game. It really means a lot to me. I want to congratulate all the other nominees and (TCCA boys winner McDonald senior) Zach (Rasile) and all of his accomplishments.”

When she returns home from Westminster or even years later, that TCCA trophy will have special meaning to her. This award has been a long time coming for her.

“I think it’s going to be something that’s always close to my heart,” Condoleon said. “When I was a freshman, it’s always been a big dream of mine to accomplish this particular goal. I feel like looking back at the trophy, I’m going to feel the same amount of happiness, pride and just kind of a rush throughout everything I’ve accomplished.”

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