The inaugural Officials vs. Cancer Tournament will be held on Jan. 19 and 20 at SUNY New Paltz and will feature some of the top local boys basketball programs in the area.
More important, organizing committee member Bill Proal said, is the reason it’s happening.
“We were hit with a few members who succumbed to the disease,” said Proal, a 36-year veteran of officiating boys basketball in the Hudson Valley and a member of the International Association of Approved Basketball Officials local board 114, which trains and develops boys basketball officials for Dutchess, Ulster, Columbia and Greene counties.
Proal said the passing of former board members and officials like Whitey Raymond, Leo Darling, Fred McCoy and Jim Kyle, as well as the recent cancer fights of board president Kevin O’Connor and rules interpreter Sandy Bernstein, spurred the event.
“Nationwide, Officials vs. Cancer is something that’s done, usually for about a week or so in early January,” Proal said. “We thought, ‘Why don’t we do something similar?’
“We’re matching teams that don’t normally play each other. We’re fighting cancer and donating all the money to the American Cancer Society.”
Proal said each of the six games in the event will have a three-man crew, and each official has pledged to donate his fees back to the American Cancer Society. Members of the IAABO Board 114 not working on the court will be working the scorer’s table, taking tickets and volunteering. The $5 admission fee, as well as all money from T-shirt sales, will be donated to the American Cancer Society.
“Maybe we can expand it and get some more teams in the future,” said Proal, a Wappingers Falls resident. “I’m hoping it gets off on a strong footing.”
The opportunity to play some Section 1 teams, as Franklin D. Roosevelt did in its win in the Dutchess County Basketball Coaches Association Holiday Tournament, appealed to Presidents coach Kevin Hart, whose team will play Arlington.
“That’s going to be one of the games where we’re bringing back one of the old Section 1 rivals,” said Hart, who graduated from Roosevelt in the 1990s when the Presidents were members of Section 1.
Pine Plains has a Northern Dutchess rivalry game with Red Hook at the event.
“I would call it a rivalry, but they’ve been whooping our tails, so I don’t know if it’s really a rivalry,” Pine Plains coach Brendan LoBrutto said. “We’re looking forward to it. It’s for a good cause and it will be a good time, that’s for sure.”
Here’s a look at the field for the Officials vs. Cancer Tournament.
Spackenkill vs. Saugerties
When: 12:30 p.m.
Players to watch: Spackenkill — G Marc Horvath, F Josh Riley, F Randy Strom; Saugerties — G JT Elmendorf, G Paton Gibbs, G Darnell Edge.
Story lines: Spackenkill, a Class B school, competes in the Mid-Hudson Athletic League’s Division 3, while Saugerties is in Division I. After winning its first two games of the season, over Wallkill and Onteora, Spackenkill, coached by Terry Feeley, went 0-2 in the DCBCA Holiday Tournament, falling to Our Lady of Lourdes and Roy C. Ketcham. Spackenkill entered Wednesday with a 4-2 record. Saugerties, coached by Mike Tiano, won its first seven games of the season before falling to Franklin D. Roosevelt on Friday. Gibbs and Edge, two of Saugerties’ top scorers, are both sophomores. Saugerties, a Class A school, is in MHAL Division I.
New Paltz vs. Ketcham
When: 2:15 p.m.
Players to watch: New Paltz — F Aden Gilmour, F Kenna Gilmour, C Romikeo Duzant; Ketcham — G Mark Joao, F Joey Flanagan, G JJ Mulvey.
Story lines: The Huguenots, coached by Matt Moore, won six of their first seven games to start the season and ended Roosevelt’s seven-game winning streak. A Class A school, New Paltz competes in MHAL Division I. A hard-working team with a lunch pail mentality, Ketcham has wins over Spackenkill, Beacon, North Salem and Walter Panas and began the season 4-4. Ketcham a Class AA school coached by Matt Paino, competes in Section 1 Conference 1 League A.
Roosevelt vs. Arlington
When: 4 p.m.
Players to watch: Roosevelt — F Felix Riascos, F Derek Hart, G Ishmael Chisholm; Arlington — G Gio Rodriguez, F Errico Feaster, F Jayson Leigh.
Story lines: Roosevelt, coached by Kevin Hart, began the season 7-0 and won its first DCBCA Holiday Tournament since 1997. The Presidents compete in MHAL Division I. Arlington began the season 8-2, including wins over Red Hook, Ketcham and Mahopac. The Admirals play in Section 1 Conference 1 League A.
Red Hook vs. Pine Plains
When: 5:45 p.m.
Players to watch: Red Hook — G Paddy Parr, G Mike Rogers, G Nick Michitsch; Pine Plains — F Tyler Lydon, G Justin Cooper, F Zach Lydon.
Story lines: Red Hook, in its first year since the coaching change from retired Rod Chando to Matt Hayes, went 1-2 in its first year in the DCBCA Holiday Tournament and went 5-2 to start the season. The Raiders compete in MHAL Division I. Pine Plains, which last year won the Section 9 Class C title for a second straight year, lost to Marlboro in overtime to start the season and have since gone 5-1, including a win over Class C defending state champion Tuckahoe. Pine Plains plays in MHAL Division IV.
Poughkeepsie vs. Kingston
When: 1 p.m.
Players to watch: Poughkeepsie — G Jermar Dancy, F Devin Lawrence, F Davonte Hamilton; Kingston — G Justin Robinson, G Jordan DeCicco, G Zack Short
Story lines: Poughkeepsie, which competes in Section 1 Conference 1 League A, has had a diverse non-league schedule with a loss to Peekskill and wins over Eastchester (Westchester County), Frederick Douglass (Bronx) and Elmont (Long Island). Banged up early in the year, the Pioneers have gotten back point guard Ray Knight and will soon return forward Brandon Weir. The Tigers, of the Orange County Interscholastic Athletic Association’s Division I, have lost to Newburgh Free Academy and Albany Academy, but have beaten everyone else, including a 71-63 win over Middletown on Jan. 8. Kingston beat Poughkeepsie 57-49 last season.
Marlboro vs. Lourdes
When: 2:45 p.m.
Players to watch: Marlboro — C Alex Smith, G Matt Tamburri, F Austin Beck; Lourdes — G Kyle Santoro, F Mike Donnelly, F Nick Porter
Story lines: Marlboro won its first seven games of the season entering Tuesday, including victories over Pine Plains and Red Hook. The Iron Dukes are the defending MHAL and Section 9 Class B champion. Lourdes started the season with six straight wins before falling to Roosevelt in the final of the DCBCA tournament. The Warriors, of Section 1 Conference 1 League A, have only three reserves.