Ryan Scott Ottney
PDT Staff Writer
The Scioto County Shooting Stars Special Olympic Team marked another victory over the Celebrity team Saturday, in the fifth annual Hardwood Heroes Celebrity Fundraiser basketball game at Shawnee State University. The game is an annual event to raise money and awareness for Scioto County Board of Developmental Disabilities (DD) and the Special Olympics.
“The purpose is part of Developmental Disabilities Month, which actually ended in March, but because of the Easter Holiday we ended up pushing this into April. We do this for a couple of reasons. One, this is a great way for our players to mingle with the community and have a lot of fun. The other reason is to bring about awareness about some of our services and what we do here,” said Shawn Jordan, spokesperson for Scioto County Board of DD.
During the game in the Shawnee State University gymnasium, informational booths were setup on the mezzanine.The game is also a fundraiser for Special Olympics, raising money with sponsorships, ticket sales ($1 each), and t-shirt sales at the game.
Playing for the Shooting Stars Vern Riffe School Team was Isaac Breec, Rebecca Chaffin, James Charles, Gabby Collins, Haley Dillow, Bethany Grate, James Hanes, Corbin Ruggles, Justin Sandford, Alex Sudbrook (manager), Joshua Trowbridge, Cameron Watson, and Jeromy Cooper (manager); and on the Shooting Stars Adult Team was Jackie Barnett, Chris Bear, Mike Bear (manager), Tony Blevins, Lonnie Caldwell, Jeremy Call, Linda Clark, Susie Delong, Lulu Fannin, Elizabeth Fulk, Ron Galloway (manager), John Geyer, Bob Havens, Walter Herles, George Jewel, Tommy Kinder, Chuck Lansing, Scott McGuire, Tony Mills, Brandi Pennington, Mark Rayburn, Tim Reed, Tony Reynolds, Jessica Riggs, Mary Stephenson, Brian Wicker (manager), and D.J. Wise (manager).
“Wednesday night we got to be able to participate in the Harlem Wizards showcase at Portsmouth High School, and that fueled them to get excited for this game,” Jordan said.
Playing for the Celebrity Basketball Team on Saturday was Mike Gampp, President of American Savings Bank; Dean Wray, Vice President of Finance at SOMC; John Johnson, President of Kiwanis and Kroger Pharmacist; Trent Williams, Portsmouth City Auditor; Mayor David Malone; Mike Bell, Autism Project and Daymar College; Wayne Allen, Portsmouth Daily Times/Community Common; Bryan White, Pastor of Faith Baptist Church in Wheelersburg; Ira Fowler, Sciotoville Nazarene Church Basketball League; Jodi Conkle, Scioto County Sheriff’s Office; Roxanna Redoutey, American Express Transportation; Jeff Kleha, Attorney and SCBDD Board Member; Chief Robert Ware, Portsmouth Police Department; Amy Hughes, Asst. Principal at Portsmouth High School; and Julie Hutchinson, Asst. Prosecutor, Scioto County.
But the Hardwood Heroes is anything but your typical basketball game. You never know what crazy thing is going happen next. Jordan said Steve Zuene and 10 guards from Southern Ohio Correctional Facility are volunteering to play and always make sure the kids are having fun by staging some surprise shenanigans on the court.
“These players (for the Shooting Stars) on the court, this here is like the major leagues for them. This here is like the Final Four. To have those kids go out and have a good time and interact and be social and all that good stuff; all the way around, it’s just fantastic,” said Celebrity player Mike Bell.
Bell is also the coach of the Challenger League Basketball Team in New Boston. One player from his team, along with Bell’s own stepbrother Tommy Kinder, went to toe-to-toe on the paint, playing against Bell for the Shooting Stars team on Saturday. Bell said they both tried to sike him out and mess with his head for weeks leading up to the game.
“She (the Challenger League player) has been talking smack about it for months, and at the game in New Boston she made me eat the ball. She’s continually like, ‘just wait until I get you on the court’,” Bell said.
But the playful trash talk went both ways.
“I’m not going to hold back. I’m bringing my A-game and they’d better be ready,” Bell said before the game.
But Bell’s A-game wasn’t enough, and neither was his money, which he used to purchase a few points for the Celebrities. The Shooting Stars still defeated the Celebrities on Saturday with a crushing score of 107-70 — continuing their winning streak from last year’s victory.
Ryan Scott Ottney may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 287, or firstname.lastname@example.org. For breaking news, follow Ryan on Twitter @PDTwriter.