The local basketball community is once again coming together to fight cancer.
In 2016, Costa Mesa alumnus Mike Molina was moved to make a difference. Four years prior, Molina had lost his dear friend, Jeff Long, to the disease.
Molina and Long had both been diagnosed with testicular cancer. Molina received his diagnosis in 2011, but in the year that they fought cancer together, Long taught him how to continue enjoying life in spite of their condition.
In honor of Long, Molina, a former basketball player and coach for the Mustangs, found a way to fight cancer through the sport that he had always enjoyed. He started the Coach Mike’s Long Shot Challenge, which will continue for the fourth straight year this season.
On Jan. 21, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, 18 teams will compete in the boys’ basketball showcase, which will be held at Costa Mesa and Corona del Mar. Laguna Beach, Marina and the Mustangs will be the local teams featured at Costa Mesa, while Newport Harbor and the Sea Kings will be among the area teams to play at CdM.
All proceeds collected from the event will go to the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
“I am once again proud to announce my partnership with Costa Mesa and Corona del Mar basketball and the Make-A-Wish Foundation to continue my dream to help others through my experiences,” Molina, an assistant coach with the Chapman University men's basketball team, said via Facebook. “My hope for this event is to raise awareness, donations and make those days for someone going through cancer treatment a bit better, as well as to honor Jeff's love for life and giving spirit towards others.”
Coach Mike’s Long Shot Challenge
Monday, Jan. 21
At Costa Mesa High
11 a.m. – City of Industry Workman vs. Irvine
12:30 p.m. – Laguna Beach vs. Lancaster Antelope Valley
2 p.m. – Capistrano Valley vs. Chino Hills Ayala
3:30 p.m. – Costa Mesa vs. Hesperia Christian
5 p.m. – Marina vs. La Verne Damien
At Corona del Mar High
Noon – Corona del Mar vs. Capistrano Valley Christian
1:30 p.m. – Newport Harbor vs. Riverside Hillcrest
3 p.m. – Servite vs. South Gate
4:30 p.m. – JSerra vs. San Gabriel Academy