This holiday season, the Cazenovia varsity boys basket ball team has been doing more than just practicing their layups and free throws – they have been busy helping out local organizations and fundraising for the community basketball program.
On Dec. 14, the players donated their time and lent their muscles to CazCares, helping Director Gigi Redmond move heavy boxes of food from high shelves.
“They helped out moving all of the food that will be packed into our Christmas Food Baskets. The items run the gamut – the boys are moving fruits, vegetables, stuffing and gravy. Tomorrow we will have lots of older volunteer that will actually pack the items into the baskets,” Redmond said. “The boys have been doing this for two years now and they’re definitely a big help, it’s a pain in the neck getting the boxes from the higher shelves.”
The eleven players, ranging in ages from 15-18, came straight from a practice held after school hours in Buckley Gymnasium and stayed until all the boxes were moved and the baskets were ready to be packed.
“The players organized and planned everything. Joe Romagnoli presented the opportunity to the team, and the kids responded and wanted to make a difference in our community,” said Paul Harney, head coach of the Cazenovia varsity boys basketball team. “It’s nice when they are able to serve and help the community that they live in.”
The next night, on Dec. 15, the varsity squad teamed up with the Cazenovia junior varsity and modified basketball players, to host a fundraising dinner at Dave’s Diner. The boys spent the evening waiting, serving hungry patrons and athletic supporters, as well as clearing and cleaning their tables.
Owner of Dave’s Diner, Bill Tilison, prepared a special menu for the occasion and handled all of the food preparation. Entrees included “Half Court Ribs,” “Billy’s Philly,” “Maple Road Meatloaf,” “Full Court Fettuccini,” “To The Rim,” “Three Point Shot” and “Nacho Mama’s Nachos,” among others.
The varsity players said their favorite dish and one of the evening’s best sellers, “Harney’s Holy Cow Burger,” was inspired by the team’s coach.
“It was a huge success, standing room only for most of the night. The atmosphere was lively as families got together to help the boys basketball teams, and enjoy a great dinner menu, prepared by our host, Bill Tilison, of Dave’s Diner,” Harney said. “The varsity and junior varsity players had to fill different roles, instead of guard [and] forward; it was host, waiter, [and] dishwasher. As they have done all season so far, they stepped up and did a fantastic job. Thanks to everyone who came out to support the basketball program.”
All gratuities and a percentage of all sales from the event were given to the Cazenovia Basketball program.
“The community supports us, so we try to give back any chance we get,” said team co-captain Tanner Whiteman.
Before their Monday night match against Jordan Elbridge, the team’s record was 4-1 and lead the Onondaga High School Liberty American Division.
Their next game will be at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 22 at Bishop Grimes.
Pierce Smith is editor of the Cazenovia Republican. He can be reached at 434-8889 ext. 338 or firstname.lastname@example.org.