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Foundation Games fund college scholarships

Volunteer game officials help preserve money for Lacky awards
By: Kurt Johnson, The Press Tribune
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Monday night was designated by the Sac-Joaquin Section as Foundation Game night for high school basketball teams. The eighth annual Foundation Games were played at 76 sites throughout the section with as doubleheaders with a girls game followed by a boys game. These varsity-only contests do not count against the school’s contact limit of 27, and half of the proceeds go directly into the A. Dale Lacky Scholarship program, which last year saw 50 students receive $34,000 in scholarships. Much of the fundraising is made possible because the officials donate their services. The host school keeps the other half of the proceeds to pay for needs at the school. The A. Dale Lacky Scholarship program honors one boy and one girl athlete per year in each league with awards of either $600 or $1,000. “I think this is an amazing program,” said Valley Christian boys coach Brad Gunter, who is a member of the section’s Board of Managers. “We have had a winner in the past and the $500 that he received helped pay for his tuition at Sac State. All the officials volunteer their time for the games, which is the only way that these games are possible. Monday night we saw six officials at the game volunteering their time and we are very grateful.” “I think the foundation games are a great opportunity to not only raise basketball awareness in the community, but also to raise scholarship money for local athletes,” said first-year Granite Bay girls coach Melissa Triebwasser. “Any time we can be involved in something that is good for our players and our community, I am all for it.” Because the games do not count against a team’s limit for the season, nor on its official record, coaches approach these games differently. For the most part, they are a chance to play a lot of people and get a feel for the team in the early part of the season. “For us, it was our first official game,” Triebwasser said. “It's nice to shake the rust off and play a game that won't count against our record early in the season. Especially since we have had to install so much with a new coach.” “I am not really sure about how I feel about the game,” said Granite Bay boys coach Jason Sitterud. “I understand it's purpose and I think that it has developed into a glorified scrimmage. You try to work on some things, and just try to get better as a team.” Gunter likes the fact that he can take his small-school squad into a matchup against a bigger school without concern about the end result. “We are able to have a test run to see what we have,” Gunter said. “For us it is a way that we can play a bigger school without worrying about the scoreboard. Anytime you can have a game that enables you to play your guys and see combinations and what works and have a chance to teach, is amazing.” Oakmont boys coach Rick Campbell thinks the program could raise even more money if it were built around a more competitive set of games, perhaps by adding more playoff teams and using this format for an expanded postseason’s first round. Under the existing format, he was able to play everyone on the roster and give his players valuable minutes. “The game is a fundraiser for the section, which is good,” Campbell said. “However, it doesn't count on your record or in your power rating so in essence, it’s a glorified scrimmage. I made it a point to play everybody on my roster.”