Coaches vs. Cancer set for Saturday at Hoosac Valley
The ninth overall installment of Coaches vs. Cancer in Berkshire County will take place on Saturday.
Hoosac Valley High School will host five girls basketball games with 10 teams — five from Berkshire County — set to take part in the event.
Drury will face off with Granby in the opener at 1:30 p.m. while Wahconah and Athol are set to square off at 3 p.m. The third game will feature Mount Greylock and Mahar at 4:30 p.m. before host Hoosac Valley takes on Notre Dame Academy (Hingham) at 6 p.m. Monument Mountain and Hampshire will play in the final game of the day at 7:30 p.m.
It's the third straight year that Hoosac will host Coaches vs. Cancer, and this year they've expanded it from eight teams to the aforementioned 10.
Each of the squads will donate $250, with all money collected at the gate also set to be donated. Donations will also be accepted, with checks payable to the American Cancer Society.
"Anytime we can do something like this, it's just a great thing for everyone," Hoosac Valley coach Ron Wojcik said. "It's a great way to take something that we love as coaches and use it as a tool or vehicle to raise money for cancer, which certainly affects everybody's lives."
Wojcik said the event has been averaging just over $3,000 a year in donations, but with two more teams, he pointed out that it could reach $4,000 this year. If it does reach $4,000, that would put the total at over $10,000 for the three years its been held at Hoosac Valley.
As for the action on the court, the five games will all feature a Berkshire County team playing against a non-Berkshire County squad.
"What we've done is, we started this three years ago, we've had a Berkshire County vs. Pioneer Valley type of challenge," he said. "It allows you to play someone outside of your area. I've worked with the Pioneer Valley coaches and we try to match up teams so they'll be similar in caliber. It's worked out in the past where a lot of the games have been close and competitive."
The only non-Pioneer Valley team playing on Saturday is Notre Dame Academy. Wojcik said the event was unable to get a fifth Pioneer Valley team.
"We're excited about it," Wojcik said of playing Hoosac's opponent. "We were lucky to find Notre Dame. They're ranked very high, so it'll be a good challenge for us. We always try to get at least get a few teams from out that way that's maybe another level up or certainly a strong team."
As for Coaches vs. Cancer, according to the American Cancer society website, "The Coaches vs. Cancer program empowers coaches, their teams, and communities to join the fight against cancer by participating in awareness efforts, advocacy programs, and fundraising activities. Guided by the Coaches vs. Cancer Council, participating coaches help people with cancer today and to find cures to end the disease tomorrow, and have raised more than $87 million to help the American Cancer Society's mission."