Kansas, Michigan teacher share fun on the hardwood
Basketball game caps week's worth of fundraising for BBBS.
By ANGIE HAFLICH
A showdown before the official showdown took place Friday afternoon at Garden City High School, where teachers from Kansas played basketball against teachers from Michigan — the finale of a week-long benefit for Big Brothers Big Sisters.
The contest was a prelude to Friday night's Michigan-Kansas NCAA Tournament game in Arlington, Texas.
Prior to game time, GCHS teacher Whitney Kinney warmed up on the KU side and shared her thoughts about her team's chances.
"They have a lot of height, but we have some good shooters, so I think it will be a pretty good matchup," Kinney said.
Kinney was a shooting guard for GCHS prior to becoming a teacher.
"I might post up today, you never know," she said and laughed.
In high school, Kinney said her strongest asset was the 3-point shot.
"Hopefully it comes through today," she said.
As her team warmed up, GCHS girls basketball player Johna McLelland experienced something of a role reversal, coaching the Michigan teachers. McLelland agreed with Kinney's assessment that her team had the height advantage.
"I mean we have a 6-6 Mrs. (Christina) Weltmer and a football player, so we definitely have the height advantage," McLelland said. "We're quite a bit taller than them, so where we lack in actual athletic ability, we're going to make up for on the rebounding."
Gage Reiss, 15, said while he was rooting for the Michigan teachers, he didn't think their height advantage would be enough. When asked for his prediction of the final score of the teachers' game, Reiss said, "I'm going to go with KU 35, Michigan 15."
The game got off to a slow scoring start, but eventually the Michigan teachers scored two points, with the Kansas teachers answering back with two. The Kansas teachers took an early 4-2 lead, but science teacher Scott Glass put the Michigan team ahead with a 3-point hoop.
The Kansas teachers had some trouble with missed passes, while the Michigan teachers struggled to make their shots, but the game remained close throughout the first eight-minute half, which ended with a score of 8-5 in favor of the Kansas teachers.
Kinney displayed excellent ball handling skills, while Glass scored another 3-pointer at the beginning of the second half, tying up the game. With about five minutes left, the Michigan side went ahead 10-8, but Kinney lived up to expectations, answering with a 3-pointer of her own.
The Michigan teachers then scored two, giving them a 12-11 lead, but it was short-lived, as the KU teachers scored four points with about two minutes left in the game. The Kansas teachers were ahead 19-12 with 15 seconds left, when the Michigan teachers scored a 3-pointer, but it was too little too late.
The game was the final competition between the KU faithful and Michigan faithful at GCHS, who had competed all week to see who could raise the most money for Big Brothers Big Sisters.
"There were KU jars and Michigan jars, and for all the pennies you get in the jar, you get points, but if the other side wants to take points away from you, they put in a dollar, which takes away 100 points," transition teacher Debbie Maxfield said.
Social studies teacher Sean Atchley, who also played on the Kansas team, organized both the fundraiser and the game with the help of other teachers.
"We knew we had a lot of (teachers) from Michigan here, had a lot from Kansas teaching here, and we wanted to get something together and have a little bit of fun and do something good for the community," Atchley said.
English teacher Michelle Oostveen, one of the teachers who played on the Michigan side, said during the week that the teachers would stand out in their hallways and shake their jars saying either, "pennies for Kansas," or "pennies for Michigan."
"And we had our fight songs playing in our classroom, so the kids really got into it," Oostveen said.
After the game, Atchley shared the results of the penny collecting contest with the students.
"You all deserve a round of applause. For KU, we had a deficit of $13.19, which means we had $13.19 fewer in dollars and silvers than we did in pennies. Michigan had a deficit of $120.28, which makes the University of Kansas the winners," Atchley said. "The grand total raised, ladies and gentleman — this knocked me out — $346.93."
He said the fundraiser far exceeded his expectations.
"We had a lot of kids that really get into it and have fun, and that's what it's all about and doing something good for the community," he said.