The annual Woodstock Hoops for Healing basketball tournament took place Nov. 21 to 23. All three Woodstock boys high school basketball teams kicked off their 2016 seasons with the tournament in a show of sportsmanship and support for cancer awareness. 

“Amidst hardship, setbacks and the highs and lows [faced by cancer patients], tournaments like this celebrate ways to help people,” said Marian Central Catholic High School head coach Jim Sarther. “It’s nice that all three Woodstock schools participate to bring the community together for something bigger than basketball.”

That sentiment is shared equally amongst participating teams, especially for tournament co-founder Woodstock High School. This year, Woodstock Athletic Director Glen Wilson anticipates that the tournament will raise close to $2,500, which will be donated to the Sage Cancer Center, the cancer center at which former Woodstock Athletic Director Jim Van Fleet became a cancer survivor.
Van Fleet has often spoken with the Blue Streaks before the Hoops for Healing Tournament. Woodstock head coach Al Baker said his message helps the meaning of the tournament resonate with the players.

“We always have a conversation [with the players] before the first game about adversity and obstacles, and we talk small-scale how sports and basketball are about dealing with adversity and when things don’t go the way you want them to, how you respond to it,” said Baker. “We use that to springboard to a larger conversation about bigger challenges people for whom the Hoops for Healing contest is held face on a daily basis.”

“Virtually all of the boys know somebody who has been touched by cancer in some way,” Baker added. “We talk about both on and off court: dealing with adversity with grace and courage.”

The Blue Streaks (2-1) won their first two contests (70-51 over Antioch and 66-54 over Round Lake) before falling 55-61 to Cary Grove. Junior Michael Gardner scored 29 points against Antioch and 20 points against Round Lake. Senior Matthew Shook added 20 points each in the first two victories. Against Cary Grove, sophomore Carl Anderson led the Blue Streaks with 11 points while Shook and senior Josh Turner each chipped in 10 points. 

Marian Central (2-1) dropped one contest to Cary Grove with a score of 49-52 and a 15-point performance by senior Jack Moscinski. Moscinski (19 points) and senior Sam Ohlrich (31 points) then led the Hurricanes to a 62-50 win over Antioch on the second day of the tournament. Junior Thomas Menner scored 16 points in Marian’s Nov. 23 55-26 win over Round Lake.

Woodstock North (0-3) junior Collin Mergl scored 19 points in the team’s 64-60 loss to Round Lake Nov. 21. Sophomore Ryan Schaffter and senior Ryan Medina scored 12 and 9 points, respectively, in a 66-40 loss to Cary Grove. Against Antioch, Medina added another 12 points in the Thunder’s 47-39 loss.

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