Port Richmond students score for a cure

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.”

You can reach Melissa Komar at mkomar@bsmphilly.com.