The Rickards High gymnasium on Friday was flooded with the colors pink and blue to represent both breast and prostate cancer. The seventh annual Cancer Awareness Classic basketball tournament sent an important message on and off the floor.
On the court, the Rickards girls were too much for Godby and went on to defeat the Cougars, 56-44. But, there, just for the night, they were united for a cause and garnered the same color.
Every year, during this special week, these students learn a little more about a disease that hits close to home for many.
Their morning announcements are littered with info on the subject, leading up to the basketball tournament. Prizes are awarded, free tickets are given out and one dollar from every ticket purchased is donated to the American Cancer Society.
“This is a great way to help us bring awareness to our kids,” Rickards Athletic Director Earl Hankerson said.
“A lot of us – staff members and students – have been affected by cancer in one form or another, whether it’s a family member or someone we know, so it’s important that we get involved, get the students involved.”
These players are proud to play for such a cause, and the Raiders girls showed it.
Jazmine Harris led the way with 12 points, an assist and two rebounds. But it was the fight and the determination underneath the rim that proved to be the difference in the end. Tamia Roebuck pulled down 11 rebounds, refusing to allow an inch in the paint, and Zakeria Smith added nine boards of her own.
“It wasn’t the best first half for us, but they really picked it up in the second half.” Rickards head coach Chariya Davis said.
“They fought out there, refused to give up on plays and came up with some easy baskets down the stretch. And that’s what this tournament is about – never giving up – and we want to help bring that awareness to our kids.”
Charisma Johnson led the charge for the Cougars, finishing her night with 14 points and 11 rebounds, and keeping hope alive for a Godby team that had to play from behind for four quarters. Darrion Denmark added 10 points and five rebounds.