Helping Hand: An alumni basketball game and its heartfelt cause
NORTH PORT - It’s the young guns versus the veterans in North Port's second annual alumni basketball game.
For these players and for the coaches it’s not just a bittersweet and nostalgic moment, it also serves a much higher purpose.
“We didn’t know what was going to happen and how big it was, but it ended up filling the gym. Coach Allen who was the winning coach with the older guys, now it’s kind of taken a different direction," said North Port High School's athletic director Coach Tony Miller.
One that no one saw coming. North Port’s beloved Coach Allen passed away.
“Two weeks later his wife passed away. That’s when I was like, okay, we can still do the event but how do we make it you know, more important and kind of keep his legacy going on? So, we started a scholarship fund in remembrance of his name and that kind of brought more feeling and more purpose to kind of doing an annual alumni game," said alumni game organizer Teddy Deas.
The scholarship funds raised will be given to one male and one female student athlete.
“We want the money to continue to grow and each year hopefully we can give out more money in the name of the Allen’s," said Coach Miller.
To help with that initial growth, we’re making the Allen’s Scholarship Fund June’s Helping Hand recipient.
“On behalf of Carl Reynolds Law we’re happy to lend our support and some financial backing of one thousand dollars to help with the scholarship fund and this basketball game that brings people together," said Carl Reynolds with Carl Reynolds Law.
And for Carl Reynold’s, the sentimental ties to this story runs deep. North Port High School basketball quite literally saved his life.
“It was a little over a year ago I was here at North Port High School with my son, with his basketball team I was here with my son with his basketball team. I had a little electrical event with my heart, and it stopped. If I had been anywhere else, I’m not sure I’d still be here," said Reynolds.
Thanks to the quick thinking and action of Coach Tillman and his wife, Stephanie, a registered nurse, Reynold’s survived.
As for the alumni game; what’s basketball without some friendly trash talk?
“I got the All Stars beating the Legends by at least 10 plus points this year," said Deas.