Growing up in Cheshire, teenager Colby Ciampi was raised to stay active and try a variety of sports. While he loves baseball and also enjoys soccer, Ciampi has felt something extra special since he picked up a basketball at age 4.
“I liked that I could make it (the sport) my own and do what I want with it,” reflected Ciampi. “I feel that you can be creative with the game.”
Over the last 10 years, Ciampi has developed his skills to the point of making history as the first St. Bridget School basketball player to break 1,000 career points. He finished with a record-setting 1,349 points in his four-year career.
“It is an accomplishment,” said Ciampi. “It helps my future goals and motivates me every day.”
He wasn’t keeping track of his stats, but became interested in the 1,000-point milestone after seeing players from other schools perform the feat.
“I had an idea that I was close,” Ciampi recalled. “I asked my coaches one day and they told me that I had reached it (the mark).”
Ciampi shares basketball with his family. After his dad taught him the game, they both imparted knowledge to Colby’s older sister Carina.
As a sophomore player at Sacred Heart Academy in Hamden, Carina helped her team post a 18-5 record this year.
“She started playing in sixth grade,” reflected Ciampi. “It is good to learn from each other and different coaches.”
Ciampi started playing recreational and travel basketball. For his first two years at St. Bridget, he played on the junior varsity level.
“When I came there, my goal was to get on varsity and take the team to the championship,” recalled Ciampi.
After splitting time on varsity and JV as a sixth grader, he became a leader in his last two seasons. As a point guard and shooting guard, he likes the challenge of trying to get his teammates involved in the game.
“It takes a lot of work to get up and down (the court) the whole game,” explained Ciampi. “I like making the other players look good. It is a leadership role beyond the basketball game.”
In what he calls his favorite experience, Ciampi played a key role in his team earning a 65-64 victory on Jan. 11 at Assumption School in Ansonia.
“We started the game cold, but then heated up and it was neck and neck from there,” recalled Ciampi. “At end, I hit three or four three-pointers and then made a free throw to win the game.”
With six eighth graders on the roster, Ciampi felt that experience was one of the key strengths of his team.
“We had great chemistry this year. It (the squad) was a brotherhood,” said Ciampi.
Recalling how older players helped him back in fifth grade, Ciampi made a point to attend JV games this season and help out younger boys.
“I texted them after the games to let them know what they did well and what they can do better,” stated Ciampi.
On the strength of his team winning nine straight games, Ciampi was happy to make the Waterbury Parochial Basketball League finals for the first time. On Feb. 24, St. Bridget (14-2) fell 43-34 at Catholic Academy of Waterbury.
“It felt like a great accomplishment to make the championship game because we were always coming up short by one or two points in the past,” reflected Ciampi.
St. Bridget qualified for states, but due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 virus, the tournament was canceled this year.
“It was a heart-breaker,” said Ciampi. “We were all hyped up for states. It (the cancellation) sucked the life out of us, but we are doing good now.”
After finishing his career in middle school, Ciampi is excited to start a new chapter this fall at Xavier High School in Middletown. He plans to play soccer, basketball, and baseball.
“They (Xavier basketball) have a bunch of seniors graduating this year, so I’m hoping to get some varsity time next season,” stated Ciampi.