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Cavottaball changes the game

Fast-paced sport combines elements of basketball and handball

Malik Dare dunks goes in for the dunk during Friday evening's Cavottaball Tournament at Shaker High School. The event raised money for the school's football booster club.

Malik Dare dunks goes in for the dunk during Friday evening's Cavottaball Tournament at Shaker High School. The event raised money for the school's football booster club. Photo by Rob Jonas.

— Cavottaball might be the most difficult sport to describe and the most fun to watch.

It combines elements of basketball and team handball, but it also adds twists which lead to fast games and intense action.

The sport was created by Shaker High School golf coach Mike Cavotta two decades ago in an attempt to find a game that would appeal to all of his physical education students.

"It was my second year in phys ed, and I had a bunch of kids -- some of whom could shoot (a basketball) well, and some of whom could pass well but not shoot," said Cavotta. "So, I created a game where everybody could utilize their skills."

Shaker hosted its annual Cavottaball Tournament last Friday, with dozens of current and former student-athletes competing for championship T-shirts and a picture on the wall. Team French Toast Mafia -- featuring Shaker basketball star Malik Dare -- won the title by beating a group of Shaker alumni 3-2 in the finals.

"It was a great time and a great event, and it was for a good cause," said Dare. Proceeds from the tournament benefited the Shaker All-Sports Booster Club.

"What makes this sport fun is the individuality," added French Toast Mafia team captain Mike Lewis. "There's nothing like it in any other sport."

Here is how Cavottaball is played.

  • The ball, which is a handball, is kicked in from the sideline to start the game.
  • Players can either shoot the ball at the basket or at a goal area marked on the wall behind each basket. One player from each five-player team is stationed in front of the wall as a goaltender.
  • A regular basket is worth one point, and a three-pointer is worth three points.
  • A shot that hits the target area on the wall is worth one point.
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