By Gail McCarthy
---- — ROCKPORT — Rockport High School’s basketball teams have completed their seasons.
But the players on the girls’ and boys’ teams will hit the floor at least one more time Friday, facing off against school staff, police and firefighters in a benefit game at 6:30 p.m. at the high school gym.
The games are part of a benefit event to defray the cost of refinishing the high school gym floor, which is used by all grades for programs such as elementary school concerts, the PTO holiday fair, and the high school graduation. The game is co-sponsored by the Friends of Rockport Athletics, which funded the project, and the Rockport PTO.
The girls’ basketball team will play against staff of the Rockport Public Schools, while the boys’ team will play against a hybrid team made up of police, firefighters and a few others. A similar event years ago is remembered by many who attended as a night that produced a lot of fun — and quite a few laughs.
Mary Ryan, the RHS athletic director, said school officials are glad to support the event, especially given that it’s expected to cover the cost of refinishing the gym floor.
“We just want it to be fun,” she said. “We have a cross-section of talent, fitness levels and athletic prowess,” she added, noting that the faculty team will be coached by “our fearless coach, Superintendent Robert Liebow.”
Liebow came out of retirement for this game. He is a former girls varsity basketball coach in Maine, as well as a freshman and jayvee boys’ basketball coach.
“I’m very experienced at this, and I’m looking forward to it,” he said, adding that it is always better to “bet on the jockey and not the horse.”
The faculty roster is comprised of varied staff, including Ryan herself as well as Julie Ryan and Shannon Ryan (none of them are related), Neil Dineen, Rob O’Hanley, Anthony Covelli, John Parisi, Erin Canniff, Margaret Thompson, Allison Chalmers and Kristen Fauci, a former Rockport High basketball player.
The other team was organized by Police Lt. Mark Schmink and Phil Tanson of the fire department.
“We’re doing a little review,” said Schmink. “We’ve been practicing and we’re watching film of the varsity boys team playing in preparation for the game.”
Players from the police are Mike Marino, Dan Mahoney, Mike Anderson, Bill Budrow and RHS senior Caden Tibert who is a RPD intern. From the fire department are Fire Chief James Doyle, Mark Wonson, Rusty Amaral and Bob Paradis. Also on the team are school staff including Elementary School Principal Sean MacGuire, elementary school teacher Phil Whitley and Todd Simendinger. From the EMS staff are Lenny Brousseau and Donny Poole as well as Bill Sclafani, who coaches high school girls’ tennis and middle school basketball.
Rumor has it that Simendinger, a high school assistant principal, is the ringer of the group.
The cost is $3 a person, and free for children under the age of 4. At halftime, there will be three-point shots for $1 and winners receive a t-shirt. There will be a bake sale and a concession in the lobby, and a 50/50 raffle.
Gail McCarthy can be reached at 978-283-7000, x3445, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.