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Trojans, Devils part of 'Dunks for Drew'

January 25, 2008|By DAN KAUFFMAN

The basketball will be great. The cause is even greater.

When "Dunks for Drew" tips off at 6 p.m. Saturday at Chambersburg, fans will have the chance to watch four of Franklin County's best boys teams play, and support the Drew Michael Taylor Foundation that's at the heart of Scotland coach Randy Taylor.

Drew Taylor was killed in an automobile accident on June 13, 2006. He was 3 years old. Through the foundation in Drew's name, Randy Taylor and his wife Marcie hope to make a positive difference in the lives of children by helping to fund educational and recreational projects.

"When we do an event, regardless of how large or small, it's always bittersweet," Randy Taylor said. "But it always warms our hearts when we see so many people we care about and who care about us, and support us for trying to do a good thing. But it also reminds us that we don't have Drew, and that will always be difficult."

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The Taylors have ties to all four schools involved in Saturday's event.

"I used to teach and coach at Chambersburg, and I also taught at Greencastle," Randy Taylor said. "My family lives in Shippensburg. My son's foudation funds educational projects in all four school districts. Just because of our connections to those schools, it just made a lot of sense.

"Last year was extremely special for local basketball. This year, the same is true. ... With the local talent the way it is, I think this makes it more special, with so many great players locally, for the fans to see them all play on one night is neat."

Scotland, which will face Shippensburg at 6, reached the PIAA Class A state semifinals last season and is currently No. 2 in The (Harrisburg) Patriot-News' Class A state rankings.

The nightcap at 8 features Chambersburg (9-9) battling Greencastle-Antrim (18-1), ranked second in The Herald-Mail's Super 7 this week and fifth in the Patriot News' PIAA Class AAA poll.

Greencastle coach Garon Gembe and Chambersburg coach Shawn Shreffler each jumped at the chance to be a part of the event.

"Randy, at the time (of the tragedy), was a teacher here," Gembe said. "We know him very well and we feel anything we can do as a basketball program and as a community to support him, we're going to do that."

"As soon as he said it, I thought it was a great idea," Shreffler said. "We feel very fortunate to be a part of such an outstanding event and a better cause."

The battle between the Blue Devils' Dameatric Scott (19.9 points, 7.8 rebounds per game through 16 games) and the Trojans' Armond Perez (20.7 points, 9.6 rebounds) could take center stage. Greencastle point guard Jordan Gembe (13.2 points) and Chambersburg forward Devonte' Merritt (9.6 points, 10.1 rebounds) - who recently returned from a two-week academic suspension - are other key players.

"Dameatric might be the best player, individually, we'll play all season long," Shreffler said. "Jordan is a very savvy player who does a lot for them. ... Last year the knock that I had on (Armond) was to try to develop more consistency. He'd have big games, but also moments that I didn't think he played to his potential. He's certainly increased his level of consistency. Night in and night out, he's showed up for us and has played extremely well. He's put together a pretty special season. Devonte' and Armond play off each other well, so having him back will be a boost to us at both ends of the floor."

Garon Gembe said the Blue Devils won't be taking anything for granted.

"We respect Chambersburg very much," Gembe said. "Coach Shreffler does a great job with them. They're a great program, they have athletes, they have size and we have to play our very best to be competitive. Our kids are looking forward to the game."

Admission is $5 for adults and $3 for students, with all proceeds going to the Drew Michael Taylor Foundation. For more information on the foundation, visit the Web site www.drewmichaeltaylor.org.

Whistles for Cancer

The Washington County Basketball Officials Association, in coordination with the International Association of Approved Basketball Officials, Inc., will participate in the "Whistles for Cancer" campaign on Tuesday.

All officials working a game in Washington County will be using pink whistles. The WCBOA also will make a donation to the "Whistles for Cancer" campaign.

For more information, visit the IAABO Web site at www.iaabo.org.

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