Cops and coaches set to square off on hardwood

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The city’s police officers and athletic coaches are facing off for charity once again in the third annual Cops vs. Coaches basketball game.

Tip-off is at 6:30 p.m. Saturday, March 23 at Strough Middle School on Laurel Street. All proceeds will benefit the police department’s Shop with a Cop holiday program.

“They better bring their A+ game,” challenged Rome Police Department spokesman Det. Jeffrey M. Lanigan. The Coaches beat the Cops 90-89 in overtime at last year’s game, making the score 1 to 1 for the series. Last year’s game raised nearly $2,000.

“The school district and the police department are two larger agencies in the city,” Lanigan explained. “We like to come together and show that we can raise money for the community.”

Tickets for the charity basketball game are $3 for adults, $1 for students and children under the age of 12 are free.

This is the police department’s sixth total charity basketball game. The first three games were played against the fire department. “It’s a lot of fun. We’d like to bring the trophy back,” said Police Chief Kevin C. Beach, who added that he might be a game time ringer should his men and women in blue need help.

“It’s great for us to get out there and interact with the kids. It’s very nice for us to put on a show for the community.”

Shop with a Cop is the police department’s annual holiday giveaway. They take upwards of 100 needy children and provide them with a $100 gift card shopping spree in Walmart. The Cops vs. Coaches game is one of the department’s big fundraisers throughout the year for Shop with a Cop. “I think it’s great for the kids that are in attendance at the game. They get to see the police officers in a different light — out of uniform and playing basketball,” said Det. Lanigan.

“The coaches are the people that are teaching them how to play these sports. Now the students can sit back and watch the coaches play the game. Their coaches have been their biggest supporters throughout the season. Now they get to support their coaches for one night.”

The game will also feature a 50/50 raffle and basket raffles. The Bobby Page Foundation is hosting the concessions and all proceeds from concessions will also go to Shop with a Cop.

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