Communities Against Cancer: Hoops for Hope is an annual fundraiser and day of basketball, hosted by Oswego and Yorkville, where money is raised for Cal’s Angels – an organization that is focused on pediatric cancer research. The event originally began in 2001 by Woodstock High School athletic director, Doug Smith. He started the event to raise awareness about cancer, but as the years went on, the event started to collect money to donate to cancer research. The event spread to more high schools, reaching Oswego High School in 2005. The Panthers have been participating in the event and playing in the tournament ever since.
The Oswego varsity girls basketball team kicked off the event. The game started as every other does: with pregame introductions. The team made a tunnel, high-fiving their teammates as they run through. Junior Jenelle Rogers, a forward for Oswego, is the last player to go through the tunnel. Rodgers comments, “My favorite part of basketball is forming bonds with people I wouldn’t normally talk to.“ The girls really showed their bond with each other during this moment, smiling and cheering for the starting five.
The girls won the game, playing well throughout. Fighting for every shot, they won 58-46. Junior Angelina Schlinger goes for the basket, with two Yorkville defenders on her.
Schlinger is a point guard, and scored six points for the Panthers on Saturday. She comments, “I think we played well. We started out hot shooting the three, which gave us the lead early in the game. Yorkville struggled defending us.”
The step team performed, while the crowd waited for the boys varsity game to start. Senior Captain Jessica Cejas comments, “We felt very honored being asked to perform for this event. It was awesome being able to support such an amazing cause.” The team really showed their support through their passion of step.
Also at the game was the pep band, cheering on the basketball players when they scored. The band did a great job hyping up the crowd before, during, and at the end of the two varsity contests. Senior Briana Rizzi comments, “I felt really good to cheer on our basketball team to show we support them no matter what.” All of the band members seemed to enjoy themself in this shot. Rizzi also said that she’s proud of everyone who was able to be there, to support cancer survivors.
Next up was the boys game. The Panthers also took home the win by the score of 66-58. The boys were focused during the game, both on and off the court.
At the boys’ half time, the crowd got to see the Oswego Wildcats, the Oswego Special Olympics basketball team, play in a condensed game. Although the score wasn’t kept, both teams played their hardest, and really seemed to enjoy showing off their skills. The game made the half time fly by for the fans, and kept them on their feet while waiting for the boys game to start again.
The event was a hit, and raised tons of money for the great cause. They raised funds from not only selling lots of entry tickets, but from also selling T-shirts and raffle tickets.