Over Thanksgiving weekend, Oswego High School helped in co-hosting the Hoops 4 Healing boys basketball tournament with Naperville North High School. Games were played Nov. 21 through Nov. 25 at both schools’ gymnasiums with the varsity and sophomore teams playing. 

The tournament’s purpose was to fundraise for Camp Hope, a children’s camp that allows kids who have family members with cancer to interact with other kids who are in similar situations. Over the past month, people have been able to donate to the cause. 

These teams not only faced off in a battle for the champion, but also battled to help cancer survivors.  

“The tournament is always very competitive, but at the same time we see camaraderie,” Mr. Darren Howard, OHS athletic director, said. “All teams wear warm up shirts that are the same with Camp Hope and Hoops 4 Healing on the shirts.” 

Each team certainly did not disappoint, but neither the sophomore team nor the varsity team of Oswego High School could earn more than one win.

The Sophomore team’s first game was on Monday, Nov. 21, and after a long game, they lost 39-29 against West Aurora. Tuesday and Wednesday were no better, with one loss 55-51 against Fenwick and another 49-31 against Neuqua Valley.

For the varsity team, the games seemed to be higher scoring and they came closer to winning, with the winner often coming forward at the very end. On Monday the team took a loss 73-61 against West Aurora. Tuesday and Wednesday continued to lose against Fenwick and Neuqua Valley for scores of 73-61 and 57-46. 

Despite the tough games, both teams saw improvement on the last day of the tournament, with varsity winning 70-57 over Downers Grove South, as well as the sophomore team winning 68-49 against them. 

Both teams took fourth place in the championship round. The sophomore tournament champion was Hinsdale Central while the varsity tournament champion was Oswego East.

The original Hoops 4 Healing tournament was started in 2001 by Doug Smith, an athletic director at Woodstock High School. Woodstock also co-hosted with Belvidere High School for this tournament.  They were donating to Gavers Cancer Center to raise awareness and funds for cancer. This tournament still runs in Woodstock each year with over 10 schools participating. This tournament has so far raised $170,000 for the program, according to Mr. Howard. 

Smith then moved to be an athletic director at Naperville North High School in 2005 and partnered with Craig Watson, a former athletic director at Oswego High School. Together they created another tournament with the same idea.

The tournament did splendidly: in the first year, they raised over $6,000 for cancer research at Edward Cancer Center in Naperville. Over the years they have expanded and improved the tournament to include not only the varsity tournament but having a set of Sophomore games as well. As of last year, they had raised over $310,000 for the Hoops 4 Healing tournament to support Camp Hope, according to Mr. Howard.

“I really love the event as it is such a great thing to bring these large schools together to teach student-athletes the importance of giving back instead of just being concerned about trophies and championships,” Mr. Howard said. “It is great basketball with an even larger and greater meaning and cause.”

During the time of this tournament, cancer survivors were able to speak with students participating in the games. They speak about their own personal battles with cancer and just how much this tournament means to them and others going through similar situations. 

This year, Bob Quinn, the current athletic director at Naperville North, spoke about his own battle. 

“[T]he things he learned in athletics helped him in that battle,” Mr. Howard said. “He also talked to the athletes about giving back everyday at your school and with your family and about being grateful for good health and opportunity.”

This year, 16 teams came together, including Aurora Christian High School, Marmion Academy, Benet Academy, Dekalb High School, Downers Grove South High School, Fenwick High School, Geneva High School, Hinsdale Central High School, Oswego High School, Oswego East High School, Naperville Central High School, Naperville North High School, Illinois Math and Science Academy, DeLasalle High School, Foreman High School, Prosser Academy, Metea Valley High School, Minooka High School, Neuqua Valley High School, Proviso East High School, Waubonsie Valley High School, Walter Payton College Preparatory High School, Yorkville High School, Huntley High School, Waukegan High School, West Aurora High School, and West Chicago Community High School. 

These tournaments have been a community service project for athletes to be able to use their abilities and help those fighting against cancer. 

“It [was] a great week and the fact it happen[ed] around Thanksgiving gives it even deeper meaning!” Mr. Howard said. 

The total number of donations collected this year will be tallied in the upcoming weeks. 

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Hi, I'm Rhiannon Reynolds! This is my first year on staff, and I am a sophomore in highschool. I am involed in many things including bowling, and girl scouts. I really enjoy reading, photography, sports, and spending time with friends and family. I am really excited for this year of journalism!


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