NJ Homeschool Sports Association Wells Fargo 2015 Sixers Basketball Tournament - For Immediate Release April 8, 2015 

Homeschool basketball players get chance to play at Wells Fargo Center


Three New Jersey homeschool organizations gathered their basketball teams together Wednesday for a tournament at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, the home court of the 76ers.

The three organizations were the Families United Network Academy HEAT, which brought both its varsity and JV teams made up of players from Cape May and Atlantic counties; the Morris County Christian Home Educators Sons, which also brought both its varsity and JV teams; and the New Jersey Home School Association Nets, a varsity team made up of players from Bergen, Essex, Passaic, and Union counties.

The organizations had participated in a similar tournament in 2007.

In order to rent the facility for three hours in the afternoon, each player was responsible for raising $125. The amount purchased them 10 tickets to the Sixers' Wednesday night game against the Washington Wizards.

Danny Cray, 17, of Mays Landing, was so eager to have the opportunity to play on the Sixers' court that he went door-to-door in local business districts and neighborhoods, asking for donations toward his fundraising efforts.

"I felt excited and blessed leading up to the tournament," he said.

The tournament consisted of four games. Each varsity team had two games, while the JV had one.

Thom Perkins, a home-school father from Egg Harbor Township, was happy to get to see his son Matthew play for the HEAT's JV team.

"It was a really great experience for the kids, a once-in-a –lifetime opportunity," he said.

Both the varsity and JV teams from Morris County won the trophies for their divisions.

Although the afternoon was short, it didn't seem to damper the mood of the players.

"It was an unreal experience that I'll never forget," Nathan Lopez, 14, of Wildwood, said.


MCCHE Sons Varsity 56, FUN Academy HEAT Varsity 37; MCCHE JV Sons 30, FUN Academy HEAT JV 18; MCCHE Sons Varsity 37, NJHSA Nets Varsity 31; NJHSA Nets Varsity 25, FUN Academy HEAT Varsity 21.

PRESS RELEASE - Community Support Makes Basketball Tournament a Reality
For immediate release.....

One for the ages. A once-in-a-lifetime experience. Unreal. Phenomenal. These are just a few of the ways homeschooled athletes from across the state expressed joy and gratitude Thursday during their basketball tournament held at the Wachovia Center in Philadelphia, Pa. As it turned out, they had much for which to be thankful.

After months of planning, phone calls and emails, a dream became a reality. The New Jersey Homeschool Sports Association was given the unique opportunity to play basketball on the Sixers home court. This was due in no small part to the generosity of the Wachovia Center and to all those who volunteered their time and efforts.
A state-wide homeschool basketball tournament is a gift in and of itself. Most of these players are grateful to have a team on which to play. So to host the event at the Sixers court was a dream come true for the Benson and McQuarrie families, directors of the statewide association. "We are deeply appreciative of the community support," said Tricia McQuarrie. The same floor that was created to showcase the talent of players like Dwayne Wade, Jason Kidd, and Allen Iverson was home for a day to a bunch of homeschooled kids and their parents, who had a dream and saw it through.

What was impossible was made possible because of the generosity of the volunteers, coaches, and communities who supported the dream. To help finance the efforts of those organizing the tournament, the Cape-Atlantic H.E.A.T. sponsored fund-raising events at locations in Cape and Atlantic Counties. They were overwhelmed and filled with gratitude for the generosity of all who contributed. Without those contributions, they say their dream would have been very difficult to attain.

The tournament day began with a beautiful rendition of the National Anthem sung by Grace Wright of Ocean View. Participating teams represented Atlantic, Cape, Chester/Morris, Monmouth, Ocean and Passaic counties and contained both boys and girls divisions . With the first game scheduled to begin at 8:15 a.m., the mood was quickly set as the players took their first shots and warmed-up on the Sixers floor. Even the coaches made sure they got a few jump-shots in before quickly taking spots by their respective benches. The first tip of the day was thrown, the stadium music rolled, and the competitions began.

The excitement of the event was magnified every time a player or team took the court for the first time. David Wright of Cape May County said he felt, "Really excited. It was pretty sweet. It was really great playing on a pro court, and having the fellowship with the other teams too." Varsity player Genevieve Benson of Atlantic County said, "It was an awesome and captivating feeling!" Playing on a professional NBA court and taking "real NBA threes" supplied plenty of excitement, and even sitting on the bench, a place coveted by every NBA-hopeful, wasn’t such a bad place to be. Brian McQuarrie, coach of the "H.E.A.T.," had a feeling of completion upon first taking the court. "To put something together like this is a long process, so stepping on that court was the culmination of all that effort from all those people," he said. "It was a never-to-be-forgotten experience."

Championship coach Duane Sykes of the Ocean County Christian Academy Crusaders got a chance to share his thoughts while resting between games. "It’s wonderful here along with other fellow Christians just enjoying ourselves and having a great time watching the kids play." David Fedak, coach of the Monmouth county JMJ Knights, also voiced his teams’excitement between games. "We feel really good about the tournament, I mean we’re really happy to be here."

Asked what his favorite memory of the day was, Coach McQuarrie said, "Seeing the expressions on all the players’ faces and being able to shoot some threes with my fellow coach." Both David Wright and Genevieve Benson shared what stuck out to them about the difference of playing on a professional court. "It is amazing that though the court is the same size as most other courts, it instills a larger than life feeling!" Genevieve said. "The sheer size of it," is what impressed David Wright, along with "the very unforgiving rims." Ian Fenwick of Absecon said, "It’s like the chance of a lifetime to play in the Wachovia Center."
Coach Fedak summed up the feelings of gratitude for the experience. "We appreciate all the hard work that everyone put into pulling this thing off. And we’re obviously thankful to the Wachovia Center. It’s just great to come here and to see homeschool families having a really good day, a wholesome day. Everyone’s trying their best, so it’s just a great blessing and we’re thankful to God."
### Photos provided by Jamie Cramer

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Howard Cosell: "Sports is human life in microcosm."