TRR Photos by Ted Waddell

Backwards is forwards. The Harlem Wizards’ Roscoe “Sarge” Johnson shows his stuff to the cheering crowd.

Wizards wow ‘em at Sullivan West

.”It was an amazing family night out….”   —Jennifer Bernas, vice-president of the Sullivan West Elementary School PSTO

LAKE HUNTINGTON, NY — This is a story of Wizards and “Muggles.”

On Sunday, January 6, the Sullivan West Elementary School presented a fundraising basketball game between a home team made up of teachers, staff, the district’s resource officers, a few alumni and a couple of relatives who took to the polished hardwood floor in a “battle royale”—that’s a bit of literary license at work by your sports scribbler—against the legendary Harlem Wizards.

The event was set by a couple of movers and shakers from the elementary school, Janayna Brockner, president of the Parents Teacher Student Organization (PTSO) and vice president Jennifer Bernas, along with a lot of help from a small legion of like-minded school and community volunteers.

“After months of planning, Janayna and I are more than delighted that our ticket sales totaled 594,” said Bernas after the event.

“Packed house… we received many thanks and congratulations from parents, staff and students.”

Of note, is the stat that the contest had sold more than 400 tickets online before the gates opened on game day.

After the initial costs were deducted from the ‘take at the gate’, the game pulled in a profit of an estimated $3,000, which will be used to fund a variety of projects and sponsorships at the local elementary school: teacher requests, field trips, a 6th grade trip to Frost Valley, a fun day scheduled in June, while the remainder is slated for school supplies next year.

The Sullivan West Bulldogs team, coached by player & superintendent of schools Steve “Super Dawg” Walker in the guise of leader of the ‘Muggles,’ those folks without magical powers in J.K. Rowling’s world of fantasy: Sullivan County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Jack Harb (high school resource officer), Chris Teeple (K-6 teacher), Donald Henke (high school teacher), Troy Parucki (K-6 teacher spouse), Joe Ebeling (K-6 gym teacher), Anne Marie Jones (staff), Greg Hawkins (K-6 teacher spouse), Collin Hauschild (alumni), Dawn Hauschild (K-6 teacher), Dave Eggelton (high school teacher), Danielle Meyer (Pre-K teacher), SCSO Deputy Jason Beebe (elementary school resource officer), Greg Scott (K-6 teacher’s brother), John Hauschild (football coach/alumni), Dan Spagnoli (parent), Charlie Houtaling (parent), John Meyer (K-6 teacher), Tara Brey (K-6 teacher), Samantha Scott (K-6 teacher), Kathleen Bressler (assistant superintendent), Scott Scardino (K-6 gym teacher), Chris Hawkins (K-6 teacher), Megan Brockner (alumni), SCSO Corporal Danny Zayas, Diana Hahn (high school teacher), Cathy Hart (staff) and Nicole Olsen (staff).

The home team was supported by Sue Mullally (scorekeeper), Megan Eggleton (physical therapist for the Wizards), Liz Huggler (on-call IT technician), and Chanlyn O’Sullivan who belted out the National Anthem to a stirring round of appreciative applause

The guys in the striped shirts: Sullivan West’s own chemistry teacher Mike “Elmo” Ellmauer and Edwin Rodriquez.

Meet the Wizards: Derrick “MC” McPherson ran the show from the announcer’s desk as the deejay, while #000 Dwayne “Swoop” Simpson entertained the packed house with his on-court chatter and talent as a bucketeer.

The rest of the visiting hoopsters included #30 Roscoe “Sarge” Johnson, #36 Kendall “Kasper” Boyd-Hill, #14, AJ “Miles High” Millien, #4 James “Road Runner” Tyndal III, and #7 Gerald “Sky-Walker” Warrick III.

On Sunday, the crowd was especially thrilled to witness the antics and basketball wizardry of former Harlem Globetrotter “Swoop” Simpson, “Road Runner “Tyndal III (who is fast enough to dribble through traffic in the Big Apple (don’t even think about the Long Island Expressway at 24/7 rush hour), while “Sarge” Johnson’s 360th backboard shattering slam-dunk was featured on ESPN’s “dunks of the week” online.

The Harlem Wizards basketball team was created in 1962 by sports promoter Howie Davis, and unlike most professional teams their stated goal is not to win, but to entertain, wowing the crowds with a wide and ever-changing variety of fancy trickery such a dribbling, passing, shooting and slam-dunking.

Although their on-floor antics are similar to the world-famous Harlem Globetrotters, founded in 1926, the Harlem Wizards have their own unique brand of hoops.

In the Sullivan West gym, “Swoop and the Gang” handed out free basketballs and other mementoes to the crowd, paying special attention to the youngest member in the stands, a 6-month old, and an octogenarian at 86-years and counting.

The Wizards have a cadre of three teams that crisscross the USA, and over the years have helped local organizations raise millions of dollars for worthy causes.

 “It was an amazing family night out that was enjoyed by kids and adults,” said Bernas, adding, “It would not have been possible without the help and support from Sullivan West teachers, staff, students and parents… we would like to thanks the teachers and staff for being such great sports.”

Oh, and the final score: Harlem Wizards 80, Sullivan West 67. But that’s what happens when you mix Wizards with Muggles.

See more photos from the game in our photo gallery here.


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