George Ferguson Havre Daily News sports editor firstname.lastname@example.org
On Thursday night at the Havre Central gymnasium, fans of the Montana State University-Northern men’s and women’s basketball teams have a chance to come together with supporters of Havre Central Junior High and St. Judes School to do some good, and while they’re at it, see some pretty good basketball too. The Lights and Skylights will hold intrasquad scrimmages at the famed Central gym Thursday to help raise money for the new boiler that had to be installed at Havre Central. The boiler, which will likely cost the school upwards of $90,000, is already installed, and the school has raised nearly $50,000 so far, according to Stacey Rismon of St. Judes and Havre Central. “The purpose of this event is to reach out to the community outside of the Catholic community in Havre,” Rismon said. “Our gym is a special place and it has so many uses throughout the year. It is used for so many things besides basketball and we just felt like this was a good way to reach out for help.” The idea to hold scrimmages in the gym originally came about last summer. MSU-N women’s head coach Chris Mouat commented to Rismon about the gym and how we would like to see his Skylights play there some day. And with the need to raise money for the facility, Mouat, Lights’ head coach Shawn Huse and many others were only too willing to reach out and help. “I think it is a win-win situation for everybody,” Huse said. “Anytime we have a chance to reach out and help somebody like this we obviously want to do it if we can. “I think the kids are looking forward to this,” Huse added. “Because that is the type of student-athletes we have here. They enjoy doing these types of things for the community.” And while the night will ultimately be about raising funds for Havre Central’s new boiler, it will also be about basketball. Both the Lights and Skylights have begun preparations for their upcoming season debuts, so there is no doubt that the scrimmages will be taken very seriously. The Skylights open their season on Oct. 14 against the University of Calgary. The Lights begin their regular season on Oct. 27 with the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic. Both teams will play full intrasquad scrimmages with each game consisting of four eight-minute quarters. The Skylights will go first and Mouat will showcase new players like Great Falls’ Sam Shermele and Chester/J-I’s Mary DeVries, as well as some familiar faces in guard Chelsie Searle, who is returning to Northern after suffering significant injuries in the team’s van accident last year and Jayla Mcpherson, a Havre native who missed last season with a knee injury. The Northern men will also be on display, and like the Skylights, the Lights will show off some exciting new players to go along with MSU-N veterans like Havre’s own Cory Brothers. Both the MSU-N men and women will also have a chance to entertain fans with their individual skills. In between games, there will be a 3-point shooting contest that will consist of a Light and Skylight on each team. After the men’s game, there will be a slam dunk contest, which in itself also will produce a benefit for Havre Central. Because of the dunk contest, Master Sports has donated two brand new breakaway rims to the gym. “The people at Master Sports are just incredible,” Huse said. “When they heard of the event, they knew that the gym needed that type of rim to have a dunk contest and they didn’t even hesitate to fill the need. I think that donation is going to benefit that gym for a long time to come. Thursday’s festivities will also include a free-will barbeque, and at that time, fans who donate to the cause can register to win a basketball signed by the entire Lights and Skylights teams. The players and coaches will also be on hand to talk and meet the public during the dinner. “We are just hoping for as much support as we can get,” Rismon said. “Our gym and our school is an important part of our community and we are excited to have MSU-Northern playing here. It should be a really fun night.” Thursday night’s fundraiser will start at 5 p.m with the barbeque. The scrimmages begin at 6 p.m. Cost for admission is $5 for adults and $3 for students. Children in kindergarten and younger will admitted free of charge.