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Hoops for Hope

West Long Branch:  Shore Regional hosted the second annual “Hoops For Hope” on February 16, 2013.  This nation-wide event is recognized by the American Cancer Society (ACS) and takes place at many high schools throughout the country.    Head Coach, Dave Dudzinski, Assistant Coach, Tory West, and J.V. Coach Joe Rankin all worked together to team up with the Monmouth County chapter of the American Cancer Society to lay the foundation for this event.  Seeking help from the community, Coaches Dudzinski, West, and Rankin reached out to the parents and to Red Bank Regional to play this game against natural rivals.   Together, both teams hoped to raise $1500 for the ACS.

Dressed in pink, Shore Regional played host to Red Bank Regional. Everywhere you looked, fans, cheerleaders, administrators, and players all had on pink t-shirts, which read, “Hoops for Hope.”  To commemorate the event, the teams played with a bright pink ball.  After an emotional introduction, the teams came together for one last friendly handshake before the game began.    

The game itself started off a bit slow.  Both teams seemed to be adapting to the pink ball.  For most of the first period, both teams missed what would have been easy shots, however, by mid way through the period both teams settled in.  

Though natural rivals, both teams kept their emotions in check for most of the game.  Although things got heated at times, the girls kept the game clean.   Shore led most of the first half, however, they let RBR back into the game with 5 unanswered points, which tied the game 19-19 at the half.

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After an elongated intermission, the teams came out and started off right where they left off.  The momentum that RBR had gained during the last two minutes of the first half had carried over into the third period.  RBR continued to “pass and cut” through Shore’s defense.  The side-to-side passing kept Shore guessing and on their toes.  Up by eight, 23-32, RBR hit a wide open three-point shot at 1:32 left in the third quarter which set the tone for the rest of the game.

Looking out of sync, RBR controlled every aspect of the game in the second half.  RBR knew they had the game in hand and instead of running up the score they began to play small ball.   Clearly, RBR knew that this game was won and that the game meant much, much more to the community.  Instead of running up the score, RBR showed class and sportsmanship by keeping things in check. 

Though RBR won the contest 53-36, the real winners everyone that helped to raise close to $1500 for cancer research. 

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