Rivals Join Forces for Breast Cancer Awareness
Donovan Griffins beat Manchester Hawks girls in fundraising game
The Manchester Hawks and Monsignor Donovan Griffins put aside their three decades-plus athletic rivalry on Wednesday night and teamed up to raise money for the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation.
Manchester High School Athletic Director Keith Lister, who was in charge of the event, found the two rivals to be the perfect matchup for a charity basketball game. “I think it’s a good thing to get everybody on the same team, despite the uniforms having separate names, and living in different towns and being rivals," he said. "When it comes to something like this we’re really teammates.”
The special occasion brought out a crowd that nearly filled the bleachers, as funds were raised for the foundation through slightly increased admission costs, donations and sales of concessions, pink beads and magnets.
The game itself also helped raise awareness with a special tinge of pink evident throughout. The Hawks’ girl’s team wore pink high top socks, and some players used pink laces on their sneakers. The game was played with a pink and white basketball.
Both teams’ head coaches echoed similar sentiments prior to tip-off about what participating in a game like this meant for their squad.
“Tonight is just a special game, because it is for a worthy cause. So regardless of the score, really there are no losers tonight” said Manchester head coach Sweeney McKennan.
Griffins head coach Jerry Bruno said,“I think it’s a great thing for the girls,” and spoke highly about a presentation given by representatives from St. Peter’s University Hospital, who earlier in the day spoke to each team about the symptoms of breast cancer and proper precautions.
Brian Maloney, who described himself as “born and raised” in Manchester, was in attendance and said he was pleased with what he saw. “It’s well organized, we have a good community support tonight, bigger crowd than usual,” he said.
Erin Berhalter, a Manchester teacher donning a pink shirt she wore specifically for the event, also gave the fund raiser a positive review. “Good turnout, it’s been a lot of fun” she said.
As for the action on the court, the game did carry importance for each team with the postseason just around the corner. The Griffins came in looking to gain a high seed in the Shore Conference tournament, while the Hawks were just looking to try and earn a home playoff game.
The game was tight through the first half as neither team could gain any significant advantage, and the Griffins took a slim 21-20 lead into the locker room.
The Hawks seemed to take control in the third quarter, at one point going on an 8-0 run to end the third quarter with a 33-27 advantage.
That is when the Griffins took control, led by freshmen Dana Carbone,who put up all 12 of her points in the fourth quarter, as Monsignor Donovan outscored Manchester 20-7 in the final period to pull off a come from behind victory and improve to their record to 13-6.
After the game Bruno, said “we came back against a really good team on their court. I’m very very proud of my girls.”
The Hawks were led offensively by Gabrielle Valmon’s 17 points. The defeat drops Manchester's record to 10-9.