On Friday, January 18, 2019 the JV and varsity boys basketball teams from Byron-Bergen and Elba faced off in their traditional “Battle of Route 262” games, but this year they had
their sights set higher than just a victory on the basketball court. Much
In response to two of their classmates receiving cancer diagnoses, the players wanted to raise money for organizations that have helped those individuals and their families. The Ronald McDonald House Charities of Rochester and Cure Childhood Cancer Association received equal shares of the evening’s donations.
“Games with Elba bring in a large local crowd,” said Varsity Boys Basketball Head Coach Roxanne Noeth. “We thought that it would be a good chance to raise money and awareness for the cause – and the crowd really was amazing.”
In the weeks leading up to the game, the Byron-Bergen boys’ basketball teams gathered donations from friends, family, and community members and organizations. But, the Bees weren’t the only ones on the fundraising offensive. Elba, a partner District with Byron-Bergen for several sports including soccer and gymnastics, also collected donations for the V Foundation for Cancer Research.
“These students face off as opponents in basketball, but in another season they may be playing side-by-side,” said Elba Athletic Director Karen Cusmano. “The districts are less than 10 miles apart. We belong to a larger community and I’m proud that both teams are stepping up to support this important cause.”
The Elba players also joined the Byron-Bergen players in the half-court shot challenge sponsored by Jimmy Z’s of Brockport, NY. Jimmy Z’s donated $20 for every half-court basket. The crowd exploded in applause as two Byron-Bergen players and one Elba player sunk the shot.
Both teams played hard with Elba’s JV and varsity teams edging out the bees. However, the biggest score of the evening was the $5,459 raised in support of the two charitable organizations. However, the final count still is not in.
Jimmy Z’s pledged to donate 20% of all sales from customers who mention Byron-Bergen’s fundraiser on Monday, January 21, but due to inclement weather the final fundraising effort is rescheduled to Monday, January 28 from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
In a tweet, the Ronald McDonald House responded to the fundraiser announcement, “Thank you so much! This is a big help for our families.”
“Our sports teams have a strong tradition of raising money for charitable organizations,” said Byron-Bergen Athletic Director Rich Hannan. “It’s an amazing accomplishment for high school students to organize fundraising on this scale, but it is also an amazing show of solidarity for their classmates and their families. It says, ‘We’ve got your back.’ Once a Bee. Always a Bee.”