BY ABRAHAM KLINE
It’s not every day that a professional football team gets to play basketball in order to help a baseball team, but that’s exactly what has happened for the past two years in the little town of Saltsburg. Once again this year, members of the Pittsburgh Steelers formed a basketball team to play at the Saltsburg Middle/High School to help raise money for the school’s baseball program.
According to assistant coach David Cindric, this is the team’s biggest fundraiser of the year. The proceeds of the event fund the team’s trip to Florida for their spring training. This year, 14 players made the trip to the Cocoa Beach Sports Complex, where they were able to participate in some productive training prior to the regular season. Fans and supporters of the team made generous donations, which greatly helped offset the costs involved. Without the Blairsville-Saltsburg School District faculty members and The Pittsburgh Steelers organization, who played last year to help fund this year’s trip, the journey would not have been possible.
The basketball game took place on Friday, March 14, at 8 PM following a game between Saltsburg and the Apollo-Ridge 4th and 5th grade basketball teams. Concessions and 50/50 raffle tickets, with numbers that were called throughout the second half of the game, were also available to raise money.
The Steelers Team players were:
#10 Wess Lyons
#5 David Johnson
#67 B. J. Finney
#95 Lavon Hankins
#57 Kim Kanaday
#83 Louis Lipps
#16 Charlie Batch
On the Saltsburg side were members of the Blairsville-Saltsburg faculty as well as alumni. Their team consisted of the following: Mitchel Yard, Don Stitt, Mark DeMarines, Mackenzie Livingston, Tina Stossel, Mark Palmer, Steve Richards, and Jason Hayes. The game was hard played between the two teams, with each exchanging the lead throughout the entirety of the contest.
Ultimately, it was the Steelers who scored the final and winning shot with just three seconds to go in regulation! With two seconds added to the clock, the Blairsville-Saltsburg team almost tied the game but came up short. The final score was Steelers 72 to BSSD 70. The evening’s events concluded shortly before 10 PM and a good time was had by all.