There are several schools showing off some good moves out there that have nothing to do with dribble-drives and dunks.
St. John the Baptist coach Jim Plate and his players had already established a relationship with the Gerald Ryan Outreach Center in Wyandanch by working in the summer months. On Thursdays, “Fruit Thursday” Plate called them, the coach and kids sliced and served fruit to the needy.
Wanting to acknowledge the center for its charitable work and help add to its coffers, Plate and Wyandanch coach Andre Edwards came up with the idea of a basketball game on Martin Luther King Day to raise funds. This year’s game will be on Sunday, Jan. 17, the day before the official holiday, at 3 p.m. at St. John the Baptist. The plan is for the game to be an annual event, played at alternating sites.
“It’s a selfless and terrific place,” Plate said of the center, which provides food and clothing for needy families, year-round, and is one of the few places on Long Island that helps the poor to pay their heating bills.
The idea for the event came last year when, instead of going to Peter Luger’s Steakhouse for a planned celebratory dinner after winning the CHSAA title, several SJB players suggested to Plate that they give the money to the outreach center instead. “So we donated $1,000 in the kids’ names,” Plate said. “We hope this game will highlight the good works the center does.”
All proceeds from the game, matching two winning teams, will go to the outreach center.
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At Half Hollow Hills West, the annual Coaches vs. Cancer event raised more than $1,000 on Thursday night before the Colts’ game against Deer Park. Hills West has been doing this fund-raiser before their first home game since February, 2004, at the behest of coach Bill Mitaritonna, whose mother died of colon cancer that year.
One popular item on Thursday: autographed photos of Tobias Harris. “He signed them during the JV game and they gave away about 75 in exchange for donations,” Mitaritonna said.