St. Joseph’s ‘Kit’ Carson Charity Tournament Raised $600 to Fight Cancer

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This article was contributed by a team parent.

On Sunday afternoon, March 22nd, 65 young people from Maplewood and South Orange gathered to join in a 3-on-3 basketball tournament to raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. The tournament was held in memory of local resident Kit Carson, father of two avid basketball players and regular attendee at his sons’ games. St. Joseph’s parish, where Kit’s son Jack plays CYO ball, hosted the event.

The tournament was organized by Lou and Ania Budzyn, assisted on Sunday by John and Christine Muccigrosso and Jim McGuire. Mr. Budzyn is a long-time basketball coach at Our Lady of Sorrows school who just finished a season as the coach of the boys’ CYO high school team Jack Carson played for. When he learned of Kit’s untimely passing, Coach Budzyn solicited ideas from his players and Columbia High School senior Dante Muccigrosso suggested the tournament as a fitting tribute that could involve the larger community.

The event was a resounding success. The first division began at 12:30 on the sunny, but chilly early-spring afternoon. Eight teams arrived ready to participate in the 5-8 grade section of the double-elimination tournament. After much spirited play, victory was clinched by the Flyers, made up of Justin Cook, Dylan Jones and Aaron Territo.

The high-school bracket began at 3:30 and the gym at St. Joe’s was packed. 13 teams with 41 young men kept the gym lively with fast-moving basketball. Three hours later the Walk Ons were the last team standing, after a grueling run of seven straight games without a rest, the result of an early loss which put them into the second bracket. As fate would have it, Kit’s son Jack was one of the team’s three players, helping the team to victory with a hot hand from the three-point range. Strong performances were turned in by the team’s other two players, James McGuire and Justin Wozniak. Kudos to all the teams for their effort.

Gerry O’Connor, Athletic Director of the St. Joe’s CYO program, who responded immediately when Coach Budzyn approached him about hosting the event at the gym, said, “When Lou approached me with the idea, I had no idea what to expect. I was blown away by everything I saw in the gym. It was amazing what the boys did getting all those people there from different schools to play basketball.” Mr. O’Connor added that he would love to see the tournament become an annual event, and he and Coach Budzyn are looking for volunteers to make that happen.

The event was also a success financially. “We raised over $600 for LLS,” reports the Coach. To help reach that number parents and other family and friends of the players donated over and above the amount that came from the teams. Theresa Carson, Kit’s wife, attended the event from start to finish. Afterwards she said that she was “humbled by the turnout and the support for such a great cause.” She added, “The LLS not only helps with research, but they help families and caretakers who need the support and information when going through their ordeal. They did a lot for us as a family.”

Contributions to LLS can be made in Kit’s name at their website. Anyone interested in working on making the tournament a regular event should get in touch with Lou Budzyn at

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