Finding Common Ground: Basil Bowl

There is nothing quite like the common ground of friendly athletic competition to cultivate and strengthen the bond between students at brother schools --- on either side of the border.

The Basil Bowl began in 2009 to bring students from the three Basilian schools together.


Now, in its 10th year, the ‘Basil Bowl’ appears to have done just that --- levelling the playing field between the three Basilian schools in Canada and the United States ---treating participating students, faculty, and staff to much more than a winning or losing result.


“We wanted to connect with our Basilian brothers,” says Alex Frescura ’92, Director of Athletics at St. Michael’s College School (SMCS), describing the impetus for the annual tradition, which takes place at each school location. SMCS hosts the Canadian leg of the Basil Bowl on Saturday, April 13, 2019.

Basil Bowl basketball between St. Thomas High School and St. Michael’s College School.


“The students love the challenge of playing their Basilian brothers,” Frescura continues. “As teachers, it’s great to know that although our students in Ontario, Michigan, and Texas come from very different experiences, we all share the common vocation of teaching them ‘goodness, discipline and knowledge’.”


Fr. James Murphy CSB, President of St. Thomas High School in Houston, Texas, is a former lacrosse coach at SMCS. He says the initiative has fuelled, “the awareness of a broader understanding of Basilian ministry in North America. It has also been good for our athletic staffs to interact and grow as leaders.”

Fr. James Murphy, CSB, was a SMCS coach and is currently the President of St. Thomas High School.


Since the start of the Basil Bowl in 2010, SMCS has its brother schools in football, hockey, soccer, basketball, lacrosse, and rugby, with plans for tennis and baseball games in the future. The meetings, usually over a weekend, also involve a mass or prayer gathering as well as participating brother schools sharing meals together.

“Much of this has been driven by the Basilians,” says Fr. Murphy. “Future growth in this program will require true buy-in from our lay leaders.”

This year has already featured a Basil Bowl event in January when Detroit Catholic Central hosted SMCS in senior hockey. Catholic Central would go on to become Michigan State Champions.

Basil Bowl helps students from Basilian schools form meaningful bonds with each other through sport and activities.


The April 13 event will be a clash of lacrosse titans, when SMCS junior and varsity lacrosse teams tangle with Detroit Catholic Central. The matchup pits the defending state champions from Michigan against Ontario Provincial Champions which will be a first for the Basil Bowl.

Plans are already in place for the 2020 senior hockey Basil Bowl at SMCS in January.


St. Michael’s College School, Toronto, ON, since 1852, Grades 7–12 

St. Thomas High School, Houston, Texas, since 1900, Grades 9-12

Detroit Catholic Central, Novi, Michigan, since 1928, Grades 9-12

The 2019 Basil Bowl at St. Michael’s College School takes place on Saturday, April 13, 2019. The varsity lacrosse game between SMCS and Detroit Catholic Central begins at 2:00 p.m. and the junior lacrosse game takes place at 3:30 p.m.