By Tom Williams
Twenty minutes after scoring 23 points in Saturday’s Game of Hope Charity Basketball Classic, Girard High boys basketball coach Craig Hannon admitted to being a little winded.
“It’s hard, especially at this time of the year,” Hannon said after the game in Youngstown State University’s Beeghly Center. We’re down to the last three, four weeks of basketball, I really need to get in shape.”
Led by former YSU placekicker Brian Palmer, Team Davis defeated Hannon’s Team Johnson, 46-36. Palmer scored 17 points and was named the game’s Most Valuable Player.
“He’s a good athlete, that’s tough to contend with,” said Hannon of Palmer.
Ryan Martino, former YSU punter who is now a bailiff for Mahoning County Judge Scott Krichbaum, was happy to be teammates again with Palmer.
“He did real well,” Martino, who also is a drag racer with Martino Motorsports on weekends. “We were teammates for Coach [Jon] Heacock so it was kinda cool to get teamed up with him again.”
Hope Foundation of the Mahoning Valley sponsored the game. Money raised goes to help chronically/terminally ill children.
“We think we had about 800 here today, through the doors, volunteers and participants,” said Anthony Spano of the Hope Foundation. “Because of the weather, we think we had a great turnout.”
Tom Seifert scored nine points for the winners while Austintown Fitch High girls basketball coach Stacie Cepin scored eight.
Hannon was especially impressed with his teammate, former YSU player Lisa Modelski who scored nine points.
“Once I saw her shoot, I [remembered] how good she was,” Hannon said. “I didn’t realize [in advance] how hard everyone plays in it. They’re out there to win and it took me a minute to realize [that].”
Andre Taylor, a former Cleveland Glenville High football player who teaches in Twinsburg, said he was glad to participate. He represented the teachers organization NEOEA.
“I was winded,” said Taylor, who noticed that his squad started with just seven players. “I thought, ‘I’m in trouble — there’s no win to come in and sub for me.’
“Then more showed up,” Taylor said, laughing. “The most important thing is the [money] goes to charity.”