By Rob Potter
FALLSBURG November 28, 2003 The scoreboard in the Fallsburg Central School gymnasium clearly read Guests 62, Home 43 on Tuesday night.
But most of the hundreds of fans who watched the evenings basketball game seemed to leave the building with a smile on their face.
Thats what an entertaining basketball fund-raiser game does to people.
About 550 children and adults watched the Fallsburg Dream Team, made up of Fallsburg Central School faculty members, challenge the Court Jesters, a traveling all-star team of former college and professional basketball players.
Following a tip-off that featured more laughing and joking than would occur at a regulation game, the Court Jesters jumped out to an 8-0 lead. But the home crowd cheered loudly when Fallsburg Dream Team member Simmie Williams swished a three-point shot with 7:28 left in the first quarter.
However, the five-point margin was about as close as the Dream Team would get for the rest of the game. The Court Jesters converted three-point shots, trick shots and a variety of slam dunks on their way to the 62-43 win.
But the final score was not important on this night. Rather, the focus was on having a good time while raising money for the Fallsburg Class of 2005.
Several times during the game, one of the Court Jesters would bring a youngster out on the court to show off their basketball or dance skills. Twice the entire Court Jesters team invited dozens of fans to join them on the court for a dance routine.
The team performs its comedy basketball show about 100 days a year at schools in the eastern half of the United States.
In night appearances we play basketball games, but we also visit schools during the day and talk to kids about the dangers of using drugs and alcohol, setting goals and dealing with peer pressure, Court Jesters President Andrew M. Eckman said.
At halftime, Ed Liotard, who is a member of the Fallsburg Police Department and serves as the Fallsburg Central School Resource Officer made some special presentations. Liotard recently visited the Miami Police Department to learn more about the Do The Right Thing Program. The Miami P.D. began the program that involves communities, police departments and schools in an effort to reward children for doing positive, helpful things.
Liotard noted that each month students and faculty and staff members nominate students for doing good deeds and a committee selects the most outstanding children to receive either a Do The Right Thing plaque or certificate. One elementary student, one middle school student and one high school student earn plaques, while the other students receive certificates.
The program teaches the kids that its good to do the right thing, Liotard said. We want to recognize kids who are doing positive things. Once the other children see their peers being rewarded, it encourages them to do good things as well and reinforces positive behavior.
Liotard noted that one of the October Do The Right Thing plaque winners was fourth grader Daniel Justiano. He was honored for tutoring Kindergarten students and turning in a ring that he found in the school.
The other two plaque recipients were Elizabeth Arvey (middle school) and Clifton Bruno (high school).
Students who earned certificates were: Sam Bennett, Rendor Bolonos, Rachel Feller, Joshua Hazelnis, Joe Jancus and Krystal Perrello. In addition, David Anthony and Shannon Weigand earned high school sports Do The Right Thing awards.
One of the members of the Fallsburg Dream Team was Walter Milton, Jr., who became the Fallsburg Central School Superintendent just before this school year began.
It was quite intriguing to say the least, Milton replied when asked about playing against the Court Jesters. This reminds us of how good we used to be.
In addition to Milton and Williams, the other members of the Dream Team included: Lynn Colavito, Jenn DeCroix, Melony Defelipo, Pete Dworetsky, Matt Evans, Rob Hindley, Rob Kackelreiss, Jeremy Levner, Joe Levner, Ed Liotard, John Lusk, Brian Miros, Jeff Molusky, Ed Park, Mathew Swerdloff, Mike Weiner and Eileen Whitaker-Conway. The team was coached by Charlie Levine and Shelia Anderman.
The Court Jesters roster included: Corey Goodall, Jay Griffin, Sayeed Abdul-Muntaqim (who is also known as Rainbow), Andre Reyes and Terry Smith.
In the second half, Fallsburg Class of 2003 member Jon Hinton joined the Court Jesters team. A few hometown fans, however, playfully booed Hinton when he scored a couple of hoops to extend the Court Jesters lead.
Lee Smassanow, who is the advisor for the Fallsburg junior class noted that the evening was very successful.
It was great, he said. Between the raffle, event and refreshments, we raised about $1,200.
Smassanow noted that the money will be added to the class savings. The money in that account will be used to fund the prom later this school year and the senior trip in the 2004-2005 academic year.