The Harlem Wizards dominated the court on Friday night knocking off the Portage All-Stars 98-83. The Wizards backed up their slog of “Tricks, Hoopz & Alley Oopz” on the court by entertaining the crowd with some hilarious performances, while converting on dunk after dunk.
The trickery included an addition of Wizards Football with 30 seconds left in the basketball game. Swoop, the lead Wizard who was wired with a microphone throughout the night, decided to play quarterback and toss a touchdown pass with a basketball. Harlem also fooled the crowd by chasing one of its players up into the stands with what appeared to be a bucket of water. Instead of being doused with liquid, the fans in that section were hit with confetti.
The stands in the PHS East Gym were more packed than they have been for any event besides graduation. The football coaching staff and team members organized the game and sold the tickets for the contest. Proceeds benefited the Indians football program. The PHS Junior ROTC and cheerleading programs were represented as well.
The Portage All-Star team included many familiar faces to the fans in attendance. It was comprised of most faculty members from the Portage School System, but Portage Youth Basketball president Andy Maletta and police chief Mark Becker joined the squad. Three PHS students were lucky enough to be invited to play on the team. Varsity athletes Gabe Acevedo, Miguel Negroni and Lawrence Jones were the three youngest members of the team. Acevedo drained a pair of three point buckets.
The All-Star’s head coach, who was also one of the star players, was head football coach Jeromy Flowers. He was joined by fellow football coaches Josh Wissing, Sam Bernardi, Nick Wellman, Tom Bonez and Eddy Rael on the team. The Portage squad was not all male, as Saylor Elementary teacher Marci Johnson, Willowcreek Middle School teacher Brenda Fleming, Fegely teacher Amy Wellman and PHS soccer coach Amanda Isaacson participated. Soccer was not the only other sport represented as assistant boys basketball coaches Tim Kunstek and Matt Martinez partook, as did new wrestling coach Leroy Vega. Head boys basketball coach Rick Snodgrass roamed the sidelines, providing some advice for the players.
The Wizards needed only six players on their roster in order to come up with a big win and keep their winning streak of over 2,800 games intact. Swoop was joined by King Arthur, Skycam, A-Train, Tomohawk and Big J. The margin of victory would have been a lot larger, but Swoop decided to have some fun in the third quarter. He offered the home team five points for any bucket, before increasing that offering to 10 and eventually 20. Swoop also pulled his players off the court one at a time, allowing the home team to creep back into the game with only one or two Wizards on the court against five Portage players.
After the game, the Wizards signed autographs on the court for many of the adoring fans. The show that they put on appealed to spectators of all ages. A great night of family fun took place during a unique fundraising event on Friday night at PHS.