Guns vs. Hoses, a benefit basketball game featuring members of the Johnston Police and Fire departments, was without question a classic.
First and foremost, more than 400 people witnessed the tireless energy of nearly two-dozens cops and firefighters. They raised in excess of $2,000 for The Autism Project, which is based in Johnston.
The Hoses built up leads as large as a dozen points, only to have the Guns come roaring back to make a game of it before falling, 47-41.
“This was really, really a nice community event,” Mayor Joseph Polisena said while showing off his JFD jersey that featured the No. 1. “I was impressed with the crowd … even after tip-off, fans for both teams kept coming in and made the night special.”
Likewise, there were many MVPs who contributed to the overall success of a game many basketball buffs and supporters of the Johnston Police and Fire departments are hoping will become an annual event.
For the victorious Hoses, the brothers Wooley – Brandon and Cory – shared team MVP honors by way of some prolific three-point shooting. Donnie Roberts, on the other hand, patrolled the paint and did his job on both the defensive and offensive backboards.
For the Guns, Viet-Hung “Okie” Nguyen was like a one-man firing squad. He consistently sank 3-point buckets that kept the cops within striking distance for most of the game.
“I think Okie got half our points,” Police Chief Richard S. Tamburini said. “He’s really a good player, and man, can he ever shoot it.”
While no individual scoring totals were kept, last Friday night’s benefit produced some interesting numbers throughout the well-played and spirited contest.
For example, the 50/50 raffle collected a total $480. Rob Mandarelli – who had the winning ticket – told organizers to keep what would have amounted to his half of the pot at $240.
There was yet more generosity from Gary Salzillo, who owns and operates Northeast Auto Body on Hartford Avenue and served as the event’s public address announcer. Salzillo had a music show throughout the contest co-starring Johnston High student and highly accomplished dance champion Joey Acciardo, who played peppy music during the game.
Salzillo also pledged $50 for each bucket, and Brandon Wooley and N’Guyen canned two each during the post-game 3-point shootout. That event earned another $200 that event chairman and Deputy Police Chief Joe Razza said was added to the pot.
In addition, the Firefighters Local 1950 and Police Local 307 each made a donation of $250 to further help boost the night’s bottom line.
Add to that the efforts of Brooke Ardito, Lori Anderson and Mandi Razza, who served as the concession team that also generated some of the $2,000 raised for The Autism Project.
Mr. and Mrs. Paws of Pawtucket Red Sox were huge hits prior to tip-off, especially with children who enjoyed having their pictures taken with the mascots.
Lala Olagundoye, an accomplished track star at Johnston High School, showed up dressed as the Panther mascot. Lauren Campagnone, Angelia Dureault, Natalia Soares, Ana Petrella and Giulia Mailhot served as the night’s cheerleaders.
The Guns’ roster included Mark Bairos, Joe Razza, Megan Boulet, Andrew Broccoli, Ryan Lemieux, Derick Ofori, Charles Psilopoulos, Viet-Hung Nguyen and Michael Babbitt.
The Hoses’ players were Mark Livingston, Brandon Wooley, Cory Wooley, John Wooley, Adam Barros, Cory McNulty, Scott Mooney, Richard Boehm, Ryan Jamiel, Donnie Roberts, Dominic Arusso, Dave Calabro and Mike Letoile.