The Eagle's Eye

#Ballin4Barb Brings the Crowd, Not a Win

Cancer fundraisers benefits lovable lunch lady

Joe Longo (@StatsByJoe), Sports Broadcaster

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     By now, “Crush Cancer” is a phrase just about everyone in the world is familiar with. In the world of Leyden, the name Barb Marinello will also seem familiar. Barb Marinello, who you may know from her infectious smile as she slides you a strawberry Uncrustable or Bosco Cheese stick, was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a form of cancer. As she battles the disease, sidelined from the Leyden lunch room, Leyden has sent her thoughts, prayers, love, and now, money to help her in the fight.

     On February 2nd, the boys varsity basketball team made their second match up against the Proviso East Pirates mean more than what ever happens on the hardwood and lights on the scoreboard. “Barb is someone every student is familiar with at Leyden and just an overall great person,” head coach Bill Heisler stated, “we want to do everything we can to give back so the game will be dedicated to her in what we are calling #Ballin4Barb.”

     In the week leading up to the game, the team sold #Ballin4Barb shirts at $10 a pop and donation cards that were hung up before the game at $1. The shirts granted free admission for anyone wearing them, were worn by the players for pregame warmups, and by the coaches on the sideline, which almost didn’t happen due to Leyden’s kindness. “We only had small and medium left,” assistant Coach Mikrut explained, “we barely had enough left for the coaches… I had to squeeze into a medium!”

     While the generosity was on full display this week, the fundraiser is just another one for the books at Leyden. Every year, Heisler and his crew choose one game to be their Crush Cancer event, raising over $2,500 last year for the Merlos family. “It’s something we stress here at Leyden,” Heisler told, “giving back to the community and those we love and care about. To be on this team, you have to be a great player, great student, and a great person.”

     The stands followed the team’s lead, packing the East Field House to a degree unseen before. “Definitely a bigger crowd than most games” every game attendee Gilbert Hernandez stated, “it was a great turnout except Scottie getting kicked out.” The Scottie Gibby is referencing is fan Adrian Aviles who got kicked out by the referees before the 4th. “Don’t get me wrong, the crowd was loud and hyped,” Heisler added, “but stay classy Leyden.” Still, the magic of the event even managed to pull in some first time fans. “It was a really fun experience” Niko Ramos said, “everyone was loud and going crazy.”

     The noise made no impact on the results as Leyden stumbled out of the gates, surrendering a 21-2 lead half way through the first. Although it was back and forth through the second and third, Proviso East kept their advantage above 15 the whole game, finishing with a 27 point win, 74-47. Turnovers and a poor handling of pace clipped the Eagles’ wings in this affair. Ocean Johnson and Kyler Britten both broke double digits and combined for 30, and Leyden kept Proviso East star J. Harris (#23) to just a point, but the Pirate guard trio of Hood, Bennett, and Moore all notched above 10 combining for 43.

     In the end, what the scoreboard read and what the records changed to didn’t matter. What did matter was the amount of helped District 212 showed and gave. “We raised north of $5,000,” Heisler informed. Everyone who attended, donated, cheered and supported should give themselves and everyone else, a great big #LeydenPride hug.

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#Ballin4Barb Brings the Crowd, Not a Win