Chie ready for leadership role

Alphonso Chie is happy to have a year of experience under his belt as he begins his senior season at Judge. SUPPLIED PHOTO

Alphonso Chie loves representing his school.

Even when times are tough.

Chie is a senior point guard on the Father Judge High School basketball team, and last year he became the starter. Unfortunately for him, the Crusaders didn’t make the playoffs. He was always proud to be a Crusader, but he definitely wanted the results to be different.

Judge won just one game in the Catholic League, and while the Crusaders did make it interesting just about every time out, more often than not, they would come up short.

“It was hard because it was the first time that we didn’t make the playoffs since Coach (Sean) Tait was the coach,” Chie said. “And it was hard because we weren’t bad, we just found ways to lose. We were a good team. We worked hard. We just weren’t winning.”

The Crusaders’ season was a disappointment, but one of the bright spots was the play of their first-year point guard.

That spells good news for Judge this year as it tries to get back to its winning ways and return to the postseason.

Chie, along with three-year starter Shane Dooley, who led Judge during the fall on the football team, will be the leaders of a young team. But having two players who have Catholic League experience can mean a lot for talented kids who need a little guidance when on the court.

Chie knows that full well.

“Last year, I had a lot of help, but I had it when I was a sophomore, too,” Chie said. “We had a great senior class that year, and Marc Rodriguez helped me a lot, but Mike Power helped me, especially because he played the same position. That definitely got me ready.

“This year, we have the young guys, and I’m going to do the same thing. The Catholic League is hard, and if you don’t have someone help you figure out how to do things, it’s a lot harder. It means a lot, and it can really help.”

And while Chie is helping his mates, he’ll be helping himself.

The Tacony resident is a pass-first point guard who succeeds by hustling on both sides of the court.

“You can’t take any game easy because you never play an easy opponent,” Chie said. “Every game in the Catholic League is going to be tough. Every game, you’re playing against players who are really good. It was like that last year and it will be like that this year.

“I just try to go out and get everyone involved,” Chie said. “That’s when I feel like we’re playing better. Everybody wants the ball, but nobody gets mad. The best thing about this team is that everyone wants the same thing. We all want to win. I just want to distribute the ball to everyone to keep them involved.”

Chie and his teammates open up with a tough slate of games that includes contests against Roman Catholic and Bonner-Prendergast before Christmas. Those two teams figure to be among the top in the league, so it’s a rough way to open up play with a young team.

But Chie doesn’t mind that.

He expects success, and to win games, you have to shine against the top teams out there.

He knows that. And he wants his younger teammates to find that out.

“It really doesn’t matter when you play people, you have to play everyone,” Chie said. “I like playing tough games early because it shows us what we have to be like. Our goal is to get into the playoffs and see if we can win. You get better by playing tough teams.”

Chie knows the Crusaders will be a work in progress and he fully expects there to be growing pains before the young guys are prepared for the vigorous schedule.

Judge could be a year away before it makes a run at a Catholic League championship, though this year’s squad isn’t ready to concede the season. Chie is ready to get the team up to speed, and hopefully that leads to success both long term and in the present.

Next year, he hopes to be watching the team during his days off from playing college basketball, although nothing is set as of yet.

“I would love to play next year,” Chie said. “I’m going to major is something in the medical field. My sister is a (registered nurse), and I learned a lot from her. I think I would like to do something like that.”

He could also possibly work as a human resources specialist because he’s great at recruiting.

Chie is a member of the admissions club at Judge, where he helps prospective students learn more about the school.

For him, it’s the perfect gig.

“I love Judge, and all I do is tell people about it,” Chie said. “When I was a freshman, one of our coaches told me that I would be good at it, and I liked doing it. I love showing people the school and talking to kids. It was perfect for me.” ••