Law officers, firefighters do battle in hoops
Published: Saturday, October 19, 2013 at 6:42 p.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, October 19, 2013 at 6:42 p.m.
The professional rivalry between the Alachua County Sheriff's Office and the Gainesville Police Department became a sporting rivalry Saturday to benefit a couple of good causes.
Meanwhile, the county's two main fire agencies put aside their rivalry to team up against law enforcement.
The three teams competed on the basketball court at the Northwood YMCA to raise money for the Y and to combat breast cancer, and the competition was intense.
"I wanted to come by and see the ASO basketball team beat the GPD basketball team," Sheriff Sadie Darnell said from the sideline. "ASO won. It was down to the wire."
The score in the first game was 57-55 in favor of ACSO, which was also the eventual winner of the tournament.
YMCA Chief Executive Officer John Bonacci said Saturday's Heroes Hoops Basketball Tournament was the inaugural competition, adding that he hopes the tourney will become a signature event for the organization.
"We wanted to play on the rivalries but at the same time give them a chance to come together for the community," Bonacci said. "All of these guys have good hearts. This is our way of thanking them for keeping us safe every day. At the same time, they are doing a good thing for the YMCA and the children we serve."
Several players on the various teams said they regularly play hoops in leagues or pickup games around town, which was evident in the hustle they showed running the court, the crisp passing and the many three-point attempts.
The teams' uniforms all had varying degrees of pink — the signature color of the breast cancer fight.
ACSO Sgt. Dorian Curtis, who organized the agency's team, and Capt. Latrell Simmons, who coached the squad, said the event raised money for a good cause.
"I'm the coordinator for the Sheriff's Office for breast cancer fundraising, and this was a good way to raise money," Curtis said. "It's going great. It's exciting. ASO alone sold 100 tickets, and we have a lot of supporters here. And we won the first round."
GPD officers Doug Williams and Candace Futrell, who both played, said the tourney gave them a chance to have fun with co-workers who they don't often see because of various shifts.
Both Futrell and Williams are basketball players.
"I play recreationally on Sundays," Williams said.
Futrell said she doesn't play regularly. However, she used too — at Duquesne University and in the WNBA.
"It was a very competitive game, a very good game," Futrell said of their game against ACSO. "It was a nice turnout today, and, of course, it's for a good cause."
Gainesville Fire Rescue and Alachua County Fire Rescue combined to form one team because of how quickly the tournament was put together. The agencies hope to field separate teams next year.
The format was round-robin, with each team playing the other two once.