The eighth annual Coaches vs. Cancer girls basketball showcase returns to Hoosac Valley High School on Saturday, and the latest edition of the standout event has added another game to the schedule.
There are seven games spread across the day, starting with a 10:30 a.m. tipoff between Frontier and Lee, renewing a storied rivalry that typically played out on Saturday mornings in the Western Massachusetts tournaments.
"We are really excited about it, and everything it represents," Hoosac coach Ron Wojcik said of the event. "I just think all of us have known people that have died, whether it's friends or family, from cancer, or suffered from cancer."
Games are scheduled to start every 1 hour, 30 minutes after the first tip. Berkshire County teams are the designated home teams for each game.
Lenox plays Mahar in the second game, then Drury plays Greenfield. Monument Mountain and Granby square off in the fourth game, before Wahconah plays Quabbin and Mount Greylock tussles with Hampshire. The nightcap features the host squad, Hoosac, against Minnechaug.
Tickets are $5 for adults, and $3 for students. In the event of snow or inclement weather, the snow date is on Sunday.
The Coaches vs. Cancer event has raised over $25,000 for the American Cancer Society, with teams, individuals and officials all making donations to the cause.
Wojcik said that the addition of the seventh game came because so many programs want to participate.
"There has been a wait list and there still is," Wojcik said. "Because, really, the teams that have played in it come back every year. No one wants to depart. Most of the local and Pioneer Valley teams have all wanted to come back."
Last year's tournament was extra emotional for the Hoosac program, as the event was dedicated to then-senior Alie Mendel, herself a cancer survivor. In the program for the event, individual coaches offer their thoughts on how cancer has touched their or their team's lives, and some programs even don special pink uniforms for the showcase.
"We've been blessed and fortunate that we've been able to host it every year," Wojcik said.