By RYAN SCOTT OTTNEY
PDT Staff Writer
The Scioto County Shooting Stars Special Olympics team tipped-off against the Celebrity Team on Saturday afternoon in the fourth annual Hardwood Heroes Celebrity Fundraiser basketball game at Shawnee State University. The game is an annual event to raise money and awareness for Scioto County Board of Developmental Disabilities (DD) and the Special Olympics.
“The kids are all excited, and so are our celebrity players. This is always a fun time. People make new friends, and family members get to come out and see their loved ones on this big basketball court,” said local coordinator Julie Monroe.
On the Shooting Stars basketball team this year were players from the Vern Riffe School (Isaac Breech, Rebecca Chaffin, Hailey Dillow, Chuck Fletcher, Bethany Grate, James Hanes, Justin Sanford, Alex Shortridge, Josh Trowbridge, Ryder White, and Cameron Watson), Adult Team (Jackie Barnett, Chris Bear, Tony Blevins, Christine Brown, Jeremy Call, Linda Clark, Lonnie Caldwell, Susie Delong, John Geyer, Bev Glenn, Bob Havens, Walter Herles, George Jewel, Tonny Kinder, Chuck Lansing, Scott McGuire, Tony Mills, Brandi Pennington, Mark Rayburn, Tim Reed, Jessica Riggs, Ray Seth, and Andy Tibbs), and volunteer players from the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility (David Hayden, Mike Williams, Donald Denner, Ryan Rush, David Barnes, Brandon Entler, and Antoine Moore).
Richard Havens of Lucasville has enjoyed watching his son, Bob Havens, on the basketball court Saturday.
“He wouldn’t miss this for nothing. He was ready to go this morning. He usually drags his feet, but he was up an hour before we were supposed to leave. He wanted to go,” Richard Havens said. “I like to see him out there. If he didn’t do something like this, he’d just be sitting in his room with his old typewriter.”
He said Bob practiced for the game by playing ball with his friends. He also enjoys bowling and going to the STAR Workshop.
On the Celebrity Team this year was Wayne Allen, writer and photographer for the Portsmouth Daily Times and the Community Common; Jodi Conkle, Scioto County Sheriff’s Office; Dr. Robert Newman, Sciotoville Family Practice; Scott Campbell, Scioto County Recorder’s Office; Mike Bell, Challenger League Coach and President of the Autism Project; Steve Sturgill, Portsmouth City Council Member and CAO Housing Director; Jeff Kleha, Attorney and SCDD Board Member; Keith Chatfield, former radio personality and owner of KC’s Productions; Michael Parker, counselor at the Counseling Center; James Montler, operator of Country Living Assisted Living Center, Larry Greene of SOCF and Julie Hutchinson, Scioto County Prosecutor’s Office.
“I think this is fantastic to bring awareness to children with disabilities, and also bring awareness to the different things that Scioto County DD does,” said celebrity player Mike Bell. “As the coach of the Challenger League and president of the Autism Society, it’s very important to me for that awareness to come out.”
He said he used to be a pretty good basketball player but he hadn’t had a lot time to practice for the game, and he joked that he just hoped he didn’t hurt himself.
Bell’s stepbrother, Tommy Kinder, was also a player on the Shooting Stars team Saturday.
“I think the community would really be surprised at what (the Special Olympics team) can do. When you talk about DD and autism, people have a perception of a certain way, but when they see this I think their perception will change,” Bell said.
It wasn’t your typical ball game — that much was clear when players from the Celebrity Team were made to shoot foul shots with a tennis ball, or when the Shooting Stars Coach Steve Zuene chased cheerleader Barry Porter (dressed in a skirt and red wig) across the court and dumped a bucket of candy over his head. But everyone appeared to be having a good time, and at the end of four quarters the final score was 147-43 with the Shooting Stars claiming victory over the Celebrity Team.
On the mezzanine level of the gymnasium, tables were available with information about Scioto County DD, Special Olympics and other local programs. All proceeds from the game went to benefit the local Special Olympics program. For more information about how to get involved with Special Olympics, call Julie Monroe or Tammy Bolton at 740-353-8448.
Ryan Scott Ottney can be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 235, or email@example.com.