Spartans to hold ‘Slam Dunk Cancer’ event tonightThe event, dubbed Slam Dunk Cancer, is centered around the back-to-back basketball games between the Duluth East Greyhounds and the Superior Spartans.
By: Emily Kram, Superior Telegram
Pink is the fashion tonight at Superior High School.
Basketball players and fans alike will be donning the cheery color for a fundraising event to benefit breast cancer research and treatment.
The event, dubbed Slam Dunk Cancer, is centered around the back-to-back basketball games between the Duluth East Greyhounds and the Superior Spartans.
The Superior girls kick off the doubleheader with Duluth East at 5:45 p.m. in the SHS gym. The boys follow with a game at 7:15 p.m.
Joe Stariha, senior vice president and CFO of Como Oil & Propane, is the lead organizer of the fundraiser. He began planning for the event after learning about the night of game scheduled with Duluth East.
“It’s rare that you have the girls and boys varsity (teams) playing on the same night at the same venue,” Stariha said.
The cross-border rivalry with Duluth East is an added bonus.
When the Spartans and Greyhounds played earlier this season, Superior walked away with a pair of victories.
The Spartan girls (17-2) led 35-21 at halftime and went on to win 75-45.
The SHS boys (17-2) squeaked out a 60-58 victory at Duluth East. The victory snapped Duluth East’s five-game winning streak against Superior dating back to 2010.
Tonight’s game is expected to be another nail-biter, but the action on the court is only one part of the evenings events. An auction and raffle will be held, and a moment will be taken between games to recognize breast cancer survivors in attendance.
“We’re doing this for a very big initiative that Como Oil is having for breast cancer,” Stariha said. “It also provides the kids with a special experience they’ll remember after high school.”
Since 2008, Como Oil & Propane has raised money for the cause with its pink truck. One cent of every gallon delivered by the truck is donated to the St. Luke’s Regional Breast Center and Women Rock, an group that works to fight breast cancer locally. Como Oil & Propane has raised about $50,000 so far through the initiative, Stariha said.
From tonight’s event Stariha is hoping for a more modest sum.
“Somewhere between $3,000 and $5,000 would be awesome,” Stariha said.
More than $1,000 has already been raised through the sale of bright pink T-shirts. Fans are encouraged to wear pink to tonight’s game, and the T-shirts have been in high demand.
Natalie Kintop, a member of the girls basketball team, volunteered to lead the effort. About 160 shirts have already been printed and 50 extra shirts will be available for purchase at game time.
“The T-shirts have sold very well,” said Christina Kintop, Natalie’s mother. She said her daughter was still receiving orders as of Monday morning.
The Spartan girls and boys basketball teams will also be swapping their traditional Columbia blue uniforms for pink tonight.
The girls team has light pink jerseys and shorts with pale blue numbers specially made for the fundraiser. The boys’ jerseys are blue with hot pink numbers.
After the games, all of the jerseys will be signed by the players and auctioned off. The silent auction will run throughout the evening and caters to the tastes of fans from both sides of the border.
For the Packers fans, there is an authentic Clay Matthews jersey signed by the linebacker. Vikings fans can bid on a signed jersey from this year’s NFL MVP — Adrian Peterson.
Other items up for bid include: a two-night stay at Bluefin Bay Resort, a two-night stay at Lutsen resort, Minnesota Wild tickets, a pair of duffel bags from Duluth Pack and 100 gallons of heating fuel from Como Oil & Propane.
All proceeds from the auction will be donated to Women Rock and St. Luke’s Regional Breast Cancer Center. Visa and Master Card will be accepted for auction items.
SPARTAN SPIN: Hailey Kontny and Jessica Lindstrom combined to score 48 points for Superior in the Jan. 31 match-up with Duluth East. The Greyhounds’ Mat Lochner was the leading scorer in the boys game with 33 points. … The final score in the boys game this year was the closest since Feb. 7, 2009. In that game, Superior scored the final eight points to win 69-67. A layup by Brent Engstrom with 30 seconds to play gave Superior the victory. … The Superior boys defeated Duluth East seven straight games from 2007 to 2010. Duluth East won six in a row before that.