Glendale firefighters defend hoops title against police

Hundreds of people packed the stands Sunday to watch Glendale firefighters successfully defend their title against their police counterparts during the second annual Hoop Heroes basketball charity game.

Although the police had practiced their game for months, they lost to firefighters, 51-37, at Glendale High School. Nearly 600 people packed the bleachers for the game, which raised $5,000 for Zone Academy, the Salvation Army’s after-school program for at-risk youth.

The audience was also asked to donate canned food items as part of the game’s admission, resulting in an estimated 1,000 pounds of canned goods for the Salvation Army’s pantry, organizers said.

The game was tied 26-26 at half time, but tide turned in the second half.

Police Det. Jeff Davis said his team had practiced for three hours each Sunday for the last four months. Their strategy, he said, was ball movement, good defense and screen setting.

“We played well and then we went away from our game plan,” he said. “I’m just sorry we lost.”

The game wasn’t without turnovers, fouls and at least one air ball.

Ultimately, though, police could not keep pace with the firefighters, who maintain a team year round to compete in the California Firefighter Olympics.

And while Fire Chief Harold Scoggins coached his team from the bench, police were without a coach and conversed among themselves during breaks.

The idea for the game as a fundraiser came during meetings of the Salvation Army board of directors, on which Scoggins and Police Chief Ron De Pompa both sit.

This year, Glendale Rotary member Rick Dinger suggested that members take on the Glendale Noon Kiwanians in a pre-game match. The Rotarians won.

Dinger said he was pleased with the community’s support.

“We had at least twice as many people here this year,” he said.

[For the Record: In an earlier version of this post, the photo caption describing the color jerseys for each team was incorrect.]

-- Kelly Corrigan, Times Community News

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