Basketball tournament helps Germantown group raise money to help the city’s homeless

On Sunday, inside LaSalle University’s Hayman Center, to the sounds of basketballs bouncing off the wooden floor, they shot hoops to help Philadelphia’s homeless get the rebound necessary to find shelter of their own.

More than 100 spectators took their seats in the stands to watch 25 teams compete in a three-on-three tournament aptly called “Hoops for Homes” which benefitted Depaul USA.

The Germantown-based non-profit aims to “offer homeless and disadvantaged people the opportunity to fulfill their potential and move towards an independent and positive future.”

Oliver James Miller, a staff member at Depaul who organized the event, paired up with Alpha Theta Alpha sorority and the Arcadia University women’s basketball team to help with the day.

Jillian Swisher, a member of the ATA sorority and an intern at Depaul, helped move the event to LaSalle after its first year at the Lonnie Young Recreation Center on East Chelten Avenue in East Germantown.

“We are really happy to have been able to connect with so many people who want to make a difference,” said Miller of the benefits of moving to the larger facility this year.

Nurses Carolyn Myers and Tracey Tillger from Bayada Home Health Care, an event sponsor, were courtside in case anything happened. Luckily, their services weren’t needed.

How they raised money

Registration cost $40 per team and $15 individually for an event which included at least three games, along with free food and a T-shirt. Teams battled for the $150 cash prize awarded to the winning team, while spectators and players could enter a 50/50 raffle for $1 a ticket.

“It’s the first time I’ve ever won a raffle and I’ve entered about 60,” said the 50/50 winner Vernon Tolbert, a Depaul staffer. “I split the $64 winnings between my sons.”

Stiff competition

Despite the occasional heated argument between players and referees about calls, the event went off without a hitch.

“There has been great enthusiasm here today, good turnout and the players are gentlemen,” said Gerald Lockhart, a Depaul member who worked as a referee on Sunday. “It all has been well put together. We’re especially thankful to LaSalle for letting us use their gym.”

The victors at the end of the day was “Cheryl 1,” a team which was sponsored by Depaul’s cook Cheryl Scott and was comprised of Gary Harris, Richard Howerton and Vernon Harris.

“I’m ecstatic they won,” said Scott. “They give you a big check and I want to bring it into our facility and hang it in the kitchen. This is bragging rights for me because I am a woman in an all-male facility.

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