By Alicia Dziak

If you’re looking for an opportunity to cheer on your hometown Lady Griffs, enjoy some hoops and do them both while supporting a great cause, look no further than the Salute to Service basketball game on Saturday, Dec. 17.

Two games will be played at the SGI High School; the JV girls tipping off at noon, followed by the Varsity squad at 1:30 p.m. The games have the Lady Griffs facing off against Mt. Mercy Academy Magic.

“I started my coaching career at Mt. Mercy Academy, and I spent seven years coaching there,” explained SGI girls Varsity coach Bob Gainey.  “When I left, my good friend and current head coach, John Glose, took over the program and has done a terrific job.  About three years ago, John started a ‘Wounded Warriors’ game at Mt. Mercy Academy.  It’s a game we’ve been a part of for the last two years and it has raised a lot of money to support the Wounded Warriors Project.”

This year, the game has moved to SGI. “We decided a change in venue would be good for the Springville community and would give us a chance to give back locally,” said Gainey.

The new location is not the only change. “This year’s game is different compared to years past,” Gainey stated.  “We have decided to name the game ‘Salute to Service,’ which benefits two local organizations within the community to benefit our Veterans.  John and I came together and agreed that it would be great for Springville to host an event which showcases both programs and gives funds to two local Veterans associations.”

Admittance to both the JV and Varsity games is $5, and Veterans/active servicemen plus one guest are free. One hundred percent of the proceeds will be split between the Concord American Legion Post 431 and VFW Post 5260.

Veterans in attendance will be treated to free refreshments during both games and a special section will be marked off for the honored guests. There will also be a shooting contest ($1 per shot, 3 point shot) during half time of both the JV and Varsity contests, with prizes given away for every made shot.

All fans/spectators are asked to wear red, white, and blue for this special event.

“I think any time you have an opportunity to show your appreciation for those who have committed their lives to serving and protecting our country, you should take full advantage of that opportunity,” noted Gainey.  “We are talking about men and women who left their homes, lives, jobs, and families to protect the people of this country.  They deserve the recognition for all they have sacrificed for our wellbeing.  We hope to see Veterans all across WNY attend the event, not just our local heroes.  This event is a celebration for all they have done for us and we hope this small showing of appreciation shows how much they mean to us.”