Faria’s All-star Basketball Games Return St. Patrick’s Day

by Brad Joyal

A longstanding Cape Cod basketball tradition is returning this St. Patrick’s Day.

Following a four-year absence due to COVID-19, Al Faria’s Boys and Girls Cape Cod All-star Basketball Games will be played March 17 at the Hyannis Youth and Community Center.

Faria, a 1961 graduate of Barnstable High School and a longtime local basketball official, has been holding All Star Games since 1985. Since 1989, he has picked boys and girls teams and pitted the best talent from the Upper Cape against the Lower Cape’s best.

“It’s the biggest day of the year for me,” said the 80-year-old Faria. “Not Christmas, not my birthday, not any other day. This is the biggest day of the year. Every year that we’ve done it has been a pretty big success — about 99 percent of the kids we invite show up, so we know that it’s a winner.”

The All Star Games first were inspired by the All Star teams that the Cape Cod Times chose during the 1980s. After starting a women’s basketball league on the Cape, Faria decided to hold an all-star game between the women and the girls high school all-stars in 1985.

After the ‘86 game, Harwich native and politician Jeff Handler, then a standout boys basketball player, suggested Faria hold a boys all-star game, too.

“Jeff was a good ballplayer and he knew me, and he came up to me and said, ‘Al, that was great. Why don’t you do that for the boys?’”

The next year, Faria hosted 1987 all-star games for both genders, and the tradition has continued ever since.

The selection process is simple: Faria writes a letter to the 17 boys and girls coaches from around the Cape seeking their input on which players from their team would be most deserving to play in the game. Some coaches suggest one player, while others suggest two or three.

In the end, Faria has some tough choices to make to determine the final rosters.

“They send me a lot of names, and then I have to get it down to a feasible amount to play in the game,” Faria said. “I can’t put everybody in the game. It’s tricky because there are some good players that won’t get picked.”

Faria said the final rosters will be announced in the next week. The girls game is scheduled for 1:15 p.m. March 17 at the HYCC, with the boys set to tip-off at 3 p.m.

Admission for the games hasn’t changed in the past 25 years. Tickets cost $8 for adults and $3 for students and seniors.