It was cops versus firefighters Saturday afternoon, but the winners were a bunch of underprivileged Glendale teens.
At the first Hoop Heroes charity basketball game, Glendale firefighters doused the police, 102-73. More than 200 people paid the $5-admission price for the Salvation Army’s after-school program at the Glendale High School gym, and brought cans of food for the pantry.
The crowd appeared evenly split in support of the two teams.
“We’re here for the firefighters, because they are our heroes,” said Vasten Khanjian, who brought his son Zaven to the game to celebrate his recent “straight-A” report card.
Ian and Finley Buckner of Santa Clarita cheered for the police because their father, Jay Woolenport, plays on the police squad.
On the court at home, “We never win,” Ian said.
Attorney Nancy Young favored the firefighters because Glendale Fire Chief Harold Scoggins, the mastermind behind the event, is a member of her Rotary club.
“But I won’t be disappointed if the Police Department wins. I am just here for the Salvation Army,” she said.
The outcome was never in doubt, as the firefighters raced to a 17-6 lead and were cruising 51-28 at halftime.
The police team had no answers for Glendale Fire’s Dan Claridge or Chris Jernegan, who were easily the tallest players on the court, with the shooting and ball-handling skills to boot.
As the clock wound down, police Officer Mike Bakunowski offered what he thought his team needed to compete better next year.
“About two feet,” he said.
Anna Avagyan, an instructor at Luna Dance Center, put in a swirling, athletic performance during her brief halftime show.
Referee John Wray, a former Glendale fire captain, said it was a clean game, and each time a player hit the floor, opposing players were there to help him up.
“These are really the heroes of our community,” said Rio Ray, captain of the Salvation Army Glendale Corps. “They keep our city safe every day, and we really appreciate them coming out and doing something extra.”