Our Lady of Port Richmond holds annual March Madness competition to benefit Ladies of Port Richmond.
By Melissa Komar
The stakes were high as the Poke’ballers and the Avocados stepped onto the court last Thursday.
March Madness kicked off early in the River Wards, the annual competition returning for its sixth year at Our Lady of Port Richmond Regional Catholic School.
The 3-on-3, half-court single elimination tournament pitted 20 teams with 75 players against each other. Just as many or more spectators filled the gym to cheer them on.
Medals and bragging rights were up for grabs, but after all the glory, generosity was the real winner.
Each year, the tournament raises about $1,000 for a charity or special cause.
“Our students here love basketball and it benefits a charity, so it’s two great things rolled into one,” said Sarah Spero, vice principal and event organizer. “It’s become a staple at the school and something we all support.”
Students pay $5 to play and receive a hot dog and drink to refuel after the games.
And the students run much of the tournament (outside of referring). They practice for three weeks before and make all the banners that adorn the walls of the gym. There are no coaches during the games; students are responsible for subbing.
The Home and School Board and families donate food for the concession stand and admission to watch the games is $1, with all profits benefitting a charity.
This year’s recipient was the Ladies of Port Richmond.
“We pick a different charity every year that relates to something going on,” Spero said. “This year, with Sister. Mary (the principal) being diagnosed with breast cancer, we thought this was fitting. We give the students background on the charity and they’re knowledgeable on what’s going on.”
Sister Mary was among the spectators on the sidelines cheering the players on and she was joined by Mary Lou Leuters, president of the LOPR, who thanked the school for it’s giving spirit
This year, the tournament raised $768.
The winning Varsity team was “Almond and Westmoreland,” which included Brian Galasso, Kerrin Konieczny and Kornel Kaznowski. Second place Varsity team was “The Goats,” which included Michael Galasso, Nuncio Davidson, James Brown and Ryan Nefferdorf. The winning JV team was the “Ballerz,” which included Gavin Lamb, Carlo Padilla, Thomas Sheridan, and James Teszner. Second place was the “Philly Brantos,” which included Kaeden Konieczny, Andrew Guckin, Daniel Dabrowski, Bailey Berkery, and Maciej Blon.
The Sportsmanship Award went to Steven Rowson, Dylan Whaley, and Richard Soltzman.
“It’s just a great way to show school spirit,” Spero said. “We were thrilled with our turnout this year and are happy to be able to donate to such a wonderful organization.”