When the month of June rolls around, it reminds Union County’s Mark Detweiler of a conversation he had with a fellow coach.
Former Union City and Blackford coach Dave Marshall, a longtime family friend of the Detweilers, commented on the camaraderie that exists with the area basketball coaches.
Those tight relationships become magnified in June with the Jon Detweiler Memorial Shootout. The annual event, now in its sixth year, serves as a fundraiser for the Williamsburg Community Center. It is Saturday at Williamsburg and in both of Northeastern’s gyms.
Jon Detweiler, Mark’s father, was primary caretaker of the gym from the early 1990s until his sudden passing in 2009 at age 64.
“What you have in this area with all the coaches, it’s not that way everywhere,” Detweiler said. “We’re really fortunate to have the coaches that we have who are committed to the game of basketball, and to the kids.
“It means a lot to me. They are taking time out of their Saturday and their summer to make a contribution to the community center that was important to my family. I think that speaks volumes for all of the area schools.”
Union County, Northeastern, Richmond, Union City, Centerville and Lincoln will bring varsity teams to the shootout. Seton Catholic also was scheduled to participate, but will be unable because of the Cardinals’ advancement to the baseball regional the same day.
Play begins at 9:30 a.m. at all three sites, and continues until the final game tips off at 5:50 p.m. at Williamsburg Community Center.
There will also be varsity girls and junior varsity boys games played Saturday. Union County, Richmond, Hagerstown and Mississinawa Valley will bring girls teams, and Union County, Connersville, Lincoln, Centerville, Northeastern, Union City and Richmond will have junior varsity teams.
“We’re excited about that and think that will just continue to grow,” Detweiler said of adding girls teams to the shootout. “We’re thrilled with that, and I’m glad we got so many local teams.”
Cost is $5 and donations are accepted at the Williamsburg Community Center. Proceeds go toward the upkeep of the center.
Jon Detweiler graduated from Williamsburg in 1962 and played for the Yellow Jacket basketball team.
The school eventually was consolidated into Northeastern, and Detweiler began looking after the Williamsburg gym in the 1990s. It is now called Jon W. Detweiler Memorial Gymnasium, and Jon Detweiler’s name and Williamsburg’s Yellow Jacket mascot are painted on the court.
“There are a lot of different things that continue to happen in that facility,” Mark Detweiler said. “We’re just happy to do a small part and give back. It’s a neat old place. The coaches appreciate it.
“It’s kind of neat for the kids to step on the floor and know what it was like to play 40 years ago in one of those old gyms.”
The shootout generally has been played near the end of June, but was moved up this year for scheduling reasons.
“I think all the teams and coaches, they know what it’s about,” Northeastern coach Brent Ross said of the Detweiler Shootout. “It makes it fun. I think the kids look forward to it.”