Police, firefighters ready to tip off for charity

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It will have as many shining moments as this weekend’s NCAA men’s basketball Final Four.

Guns vs. Hoses – a hoops face-off between members of the Johnston Police and Fire departments – will tip off tomorrow night, April 5, promptly at 7 p.m. inside Johnston High School’s Edward L. DiSimone Gymnasium. Admission costs $5 per person and children will be admitted free of charge.

“I am urging the residents of Johnston to turn out for this one-of-a-kind basketball game,” Mayor Joseph Polisena said on the steps of Town Hall Tuesday during a special press conference. “A big crowd will provide a huge boost for our neighbors at The Autism Project.”

“Thank you for doing this. I can’t tell you how much we appreciate all your efforts. April is also National Autism Awareness Month,” added Susan Baylis, manager of family support for The Autism Project, located at 1516 Atwood Ave.

“We’ve got the JPD Globetrotter All-Stars going against the Double Dribblers from the Fire Department,” said Police Chief Richard S. Tamburini, who has taken on the role of general manager for the police squad. “We’re ready for those guys.”

To which Mark Livingston, player-coach for the 13-player firefighters force, replied: “They may be the ’Trotters, but we’re the Tropics, and we are looking forward to outgunning the cops.”

Likewise, Fire Chief Peter Lamb – who has agreed to terms and will serve as the Tropics GM – offered: “I’m confident we can contend with the cops’ height advantage and utilize our team speed to out run the police.”

The Globetrotter All-Stars will have nine players in uniform Friday night, with Deputy Chief Joseph P. Razza being the tallest player on either club.

Guns’ player-coach Mark Bairos, though, has a sharp-shooting squad headed by Detective Megan Boulet, a one-time standout for the North Kingstown High School Skippers.

“She’s still got game,” Bairos said of Boulet. “She certainly can shoot it.”

Throughout the week, there has been some good-natured ribbing between the ’Trotters and Tropics. Friday night’s event will offer much more than a chance to watch Johnston’s police and firefighters compete on the hardwood.

The game will have several surprise special guests, including Paws, the famed Pawtucket Red sox mascot who will be available to take pictures with children before the game and at halftime.

Gary Salzillo, one of Johnston’s most generous youth sports sponsors who owns and operates Northeast Auto Body on Hartford Avenue, will take off his proprietor’s hat and provide musical entertainment – as well as the national anthem prior to tip-off.

Likewise, fans will have a chance to win some money, as game officials will hold a 50/50 raffle.

The Globetrotter All-Stars roster will include Mark Bairos, Joe Razza, Megan Boulet, Andrew Broccoli, Ryan Lemieux, Derick Ofori, Charles Psilopoulos, Viet-Hung Nguyen and Michael Babbitt.

The Tropics will counter with 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. 

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