Arts & Entertainment

Harlem Wizards Raise Excitement in #Slamtastic NPEF Basketball Event

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The Harlem Wizards entertained the New Providence community during March Madness Mayhem to raise money for the NPEF. Credits: Bobbie Peer
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NPEF president Gene Castagna and Board members Suzanne Botvinis and Brian Woodby (event chair) Credits: Bobbie Peer
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Hometown team of district teachers, staff and administrators along with police officers and students. Credits: Bobbie Peer
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NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ - The Harlem Wizards brought their game to New Providence High School on Monday and Tuesday nights for a March Madness Mayhem matchup with Pioneers' finest. The basketball game, which pitted staff, faculty, and administration from the district, as well as police officers against the Harlem Wizards, was held to raise money for the New Providence Education Foundation (NPEF).

The Harlem Wizards came to entertain and elevate the excitement level while interacting with the sold out crowd. Their alley-oops, crazy ball handling, nailing half court shots and insane slam dunks wowed the crowd. "We like to spread love through basketball by bringing families and communities together for a great cause," said Harlem Wizards announcer, who thanked NPEF event chair Brian Woodby for bringing the Wizards to New Providence.

This event is one of the best attended community events -- attracting pre-school through high school students, as well as teachers, administrators -- even Mayor Al Morgan and Councilman Robert Muñoz were court side. 

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Prior to the announcement of the teams, the New Providence High School Jazz Chorus took center court to sing the national anthem.

The New Providence High School gymnasium exploded with excitement as the students rose to their feet to cheer on their favorite players.  The local roster boasted the talents of Lana Boyle, Arthur Cattano, Rocco Constantino, Dan Hen, Scott Maciag, James McGeechan, Rosalie Mersinger, Dave Miceli, Cap Pazdera, Michele Picarelli, Deena Rudnicki, James Vopal, Basiel Blackwood; Police Officers Dave Rodriguez and Mike Hand. Student volunteers include Brielle Carleen, Hannah Caminiti, Jonathan Romeo, Jack Barletta, Tyler DeGeorge and Anthony Iannacone. 

While the Harlem Wizards won convincingly over the district, the evening's true winners were the students, with the event proceeds benefiting the NPEF, which goes right back into the schools to support the teachers.

Brian Woodby, the event chair, became a volunteer with the NPEF this past year.  "There is nothing better that we can provide for the community than to help with the education of our kids," said Woodby.

He credits the Wizards for doing a great job in "making it easy" to run the event. However, the group of fellow NPEF board members are the true support behind the success of running two consecutive nights of "March Madness Mayhem." "Many hands make light work," said Woodby in appreciation of his committee of volunteers.

"This event warms the heart!" 

Almost half of the funds raised by the NPEF are through business sponsorships that are prominently displayed at each of their events, and the balance of the funds are raised through their events that include the annual Strides 4 Students 5K Run, the March Mayhem Wizards Basketball Game and the Touchdown For Education social event. In addition, a letter is mailed to every resident of New Providence for their annual donation appeal. To learn more about the NPEF visit their website http://npedfoundation.org/.

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