January 17, 2014 at 9:04 PM
Former NBA and college greats will be coming to Westfield for a unique basketball event being held at Holy Trinity Interparochial School in Westfield.
The Hoops & Dreams Basketball Challenge, being held Saturday, Feb. 8, from 4 to 6 p.m., will feature two teams coached by former N.Y. Knicks Larry Johnson and John Starks. On the court the teams will be led by local NBA and NCAA favorites Terry Dehere and Felipe Lopez, and streetball legend "Black Jack" Ryan, playing with local stars and members of the community.
The evening will also feature a $10,000 half-court shot, a silent auction of sports memorabilia, children's shoot-out, door prizes and more. One attendee will be chosen at random to try his or her luck at a half-court shot. If the shot goes in the $10,000 prize will be awarded.
The first 100 children in the door will receive an autographed mini-poster.
Ryan will also put on his famed half-court show and lead a basketball exhibition with some of the children in attendance.
The event, a fund-raiser for the school, will run from 4 to 6 p.m., with doors opening at 3:15 p.m. Light refreshments will be available for purchase.
Sponsors of the event include Ray Catena of Union.
Johnson, 1992 NBA Rookie of the Year winner with the Charlotte Hornets, ended his career with the Knicks, where he was amember of the 1999 Eastern Conference Championship team. Starks was a fan-favorite in New York and leader on the Knicks during much of the 1990s.
Dehere, who was a star for Seton Hall University during the early 1990s and was the Big East's all-time point leader, played six years in the NBA. Lopez, one of the best high school players ever, is St. Johns University's all-time three point leader and played four years in the NBA.
Ryan, who is a member of the trick-shooting Harlem Wizards, has been called one of the top 20 basketball players of all time who never played in the NBA. His streetball skills are legendary and has been subject of a documentary about his life.
"We are very excited to host this event," said Rich Wieszczek, athletic director at Holy Trinity. "Sports play an important role in our school community. Most of our children play at least one sport while they are here and basketball is the biggest program."
In addition to having 14 basketball teams and clinics starting as young as Kindergarten, the school also has three volleyball teams, a cross country team, track team, and softball team. More than 150 students will play one or more sports this year at the school.
"Events like this are special and can only happen with the dedication of our parent volunteers. The parents do it because it not only helps their children have fun, but also fosters respect for each other's abilities." said Sr. Maureen Fichner, S.S.J., principal of Holy Trinity Interparochial School. "Our students find a great balance between strong academics and many different extracurricularactivities, including sports.”
Local stars scheduled to play include: Tim Corrigan, co-founder of the North Jersey Lakers of the Eastern Basketball Alliance. Corrigan, from Kean University, also played professionally in Norway; Jamie Dec, who was a power forward at the University of Rochester, and a 1000-point scorer at Union Catholic in 1993; and Kate Reed, a former point guard at Manhattan College.
Holy Trinity Interparochial School, a 2011 National Blue Ribbon School of Excellence, is a parochial school educating students in grades 1 through 8 at the Westfield Campus on First Street and an early childhood program for 2 ½-year-olds through kindergarten at the Our Lady of Lourdes Campus in Mountainside.