2016 Hoopin' in Heaven - Tommy B. Night
Was held Friday, January 8, 2016, at the Sartell High School. Sartell Boys Varsity Basketball versus the Rocori Spartans.
What an amazing and magical night!
More than 1,000 people came to Sartell High School to watch the Sartell High School Boys Varsity Basketball team play an incredibly spirited and emotional game against the Rocori Spartans on Hoopin' for Tommy B night. There were at least 500 people wearing the neon green “Hoopin in Heaven – Tommy B” t-shirts in the crowd. Unfortunately, we sold out of t-shirts one hour before the game began. The first 600 people at the game received a free neon green glow in the dark, “Hoopin in Heaven – Tommy B” wristband. These were gone long before the start of the game as well. Our foundation had a table set up to sell various items, pass out information about the foundation and our upcoming golf outing. There was also a table run by Kyle and Kristin Olson in flashing green glasses selling 50 / 50 raffle tickets.
Tom’s blue #1 jersey that he actually wore his senior year was hanging at the entrance to the gym for players to touch as they ran out onto the court. The moment of silence for Tom with Jake Lieberg holding up Tom’s jersey as everyone bowed their head brought tears to our eyes. Some incredibly talented Sartell students (Renee Schroeder, Maia Trombley, Aidan Speckhard, AlexMeeter) then sang the national anthem before the game began.
Sartell started the game in great fashion pushing out to an early lead while the crowd roared in approval. Rocori, an outstanding team, battled back and held a slight lead heading into halftime.
Video by Aubrey Immelman
Halftime featured the Alexandria Aces, a performance basketball team from Alexandria, MN. The Aces are comprised of boys and girls ages 3 – 12 and all were wearing the neon green “Hoopin in Heaven – Tommy B” T-shirts. Their show included spectacular dribbling, juggling, spinning, and gymnastic routines. The crowd went wild and cheered the Aces every move. A big thank you to Larry Novotny and his team for helping make this a special night for everyone that was there!
The halftime show continued with fans paying a dollar to attempt a 3 – point shot with the proceeds going to the Tom Bearson Foundation. Everyone who attempted a shot was rewarded with a cupcake with the #1 on it in frosting celebrating Tom’s birthday 2 days earlier. Thank you to Coborn’s, Cold Spring Bakery, and SAMS Club for generously providing the cupcakes!
The Sartell High School Booster Club graciously contributed their portion of the 50/50 raffle (about $500) to the Tom Bearson Foundation. The winner of the 50/50 raffle was Todd and Nancy Van Erp. These incredibly generous people also donated their winnings (about $500) to the Tom Bearson Foundation – Wow!
Greg Bearson made a few comments prior to the start of the second half thanking people and saying what an inspiration everyone in the crowd was. He ended his comments by saying, “Guys, let’s win one for Tommy B”.
It was a close and thrilling game with the fans totally engaged and loud throughout the second half. While Sartell never regained the lead, everyone was on the edge of their seats as we hung within a basket of tying the game up at the end. Unfortunately, Sartell was unable to pull off the upset win. But, it didn’t matter. Everyone knew that this night was about something bigger than the score board results. It was about compassion, community, and commitment. Everyone went home a winner.
We want to thank the players, coaches and fans from Rocori. They willingly wore the neon green “Hoopin’ in Heaven – Tommy B” T-shirts in warm ups and on the bench during the game. The Rocori fans were gracious guests and showed a lot of class throughout the evening.
We also want to thank Scott Edelbrock for taking pictures at this event, and donating his time and talent.
Most importantly, a big thank you to Sartell High School, the coaches, players, parents, fans and supporters. You made this truly an amazing night we will never forget and we are forever humbled and grateful.