Hoops for Hope
On Dec. 14, the Hope Foundation of the Mahoning Valley will hold its second annual Hope Classic: High School Basketball Showcase at the Struthers Fieldhouse.
Seven area schools — West Branch, Boardman, Struthers, LaBrae, Cardinal Mooney, Warren G. Harding and Niles — will participate in this year’s basketball showcase.
Denver East High School’s girl’s basketball team will also play in the tournament, traveling all the way from Colorado to compete.
Tony Spano, founder and executive director of the Hope Foundation of the Mahoning Valley, said the event contributes to a good cause.
“It raises money for chronically ill kids in the valley. All the money stays here,” he said. “The biggest thing that comes from it is, you are raising money for kids and all the money we make from that event goes back to the foundation.”
Spano said he expects the basketball showcase to attract over 3,000 spectators and raise between $8,000 and $10,000.
“We have a great following when it comes to this event, we have a lot of community backing because it is something totally different,” Spano said.
Dwight Berry, head coach of the Denver East High School’s girl’s basketball team, said he looks forward to traveling from Colorado to Youngstown with his team.
“Youngstown, Ohio is my hometown,” Berry said. “I had a lot of good things happen to me in order to be in this position and this is my way of saying thank you, and also allowing my family to see what I do.”
For Berry, the Hope Classic is about more than the playing basketball.
“I think this may be the first time that I am not too concerned about winning or losing. I’m just happy about the cause, and I am happy to be coming home,” Berry said. “I just feel like it’s a great opportunity to give back. If I can do my part and get a lot of people to come out and see us, it well help raise a lot of money.”
Spano said that since its foundation in 2007, the Hope Foundation of the Mahoning Valley has experienced growth due to community support.
“If it wasn’t for the support of the community, the board of trustees, the volunteers and the partners, this foundation would not be where it is today. It’s not because of me; it’s because of the community. I’m just one part of an integrative system of support for chronically and terminally ill kids,” Spano said.