Entertaining rout expected for fundraiser

Exhibition basketball team match to benefit Ted K Center

PLATTSBURGH — They may be seriously outmatched, but the Ted K. Center Trail Blazers will have a mission in mind when they take the floor against a team of standout basketball players.
The group of local educators will go up against the Flight Squad exhibition team in a fundraising game at 7 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 9, at Plattsburgh High School, 1 Clifford Drive.
Spectators can expect to see some impressive action and interesting antics from the Flight Squad, a team of former professional and Division 1 athletes who played for U.S. and overseas teams.

The Flight Squad will be playing a team comprising a mishmash of educators from local schools in a fundraiser to benefit the Plattsburgh Housing Authority’s Ted K. Center.

Tom Neale, education coordinator for the Ted K. Center, said the Flight Squad players will bring “high-flying slam dunks, expert dribbling exhibitions, trick shots and an interactive program.
“The crowd will also get to watch familiar faces from our community schools –– the teachers, principals and coaches who make up our team –– as they try desperately to keep pace with superior athletes.
“Hopefully, everyone will have the opportunity to witness their favorite principal or teacher learn a lesson on the hard court,” he joked.

Neale said he is always researching opportunities to secure financial support, including grants and fundraisers. He works with the Plattsburgh Housing Authority Board of Commissioners and Executive Director Mark Hamilton on those goals. “Board Vice Chair Shirley O’Connell suggested we pursue the Flight Squad basketball game,” Neale said. “We have found that it is a lot of work to organize a major community event like this, but with Shirley’s enthusiastic support, we are enjoying the planning process and look forward to providing a great family-oriented show.”

Doors to the PHS gym open at 6 for the 7 p.m. show. Halftime will feature the Plattsburgh School District’s a cappella group Fermata Nowhere, who will be doing a preview of the performance they plan to give a week later at a national competition, Neale said. After the game, fans will have a chance to meet the players and get autographs. A concession stand and team shop will sell snacks and souvenirs.

Neale said it will be difficult to get the Ted K Trail Blazers team together to practice, but they will give their best effort against the super-talented Flight Squad. “Our team features great athletes who may be slightly beyond their prime but will be able to make many entertaining plays on the court,” he said. “The team does look forward to being a main part of the show and enjoy interacting with Flight Squad and the fans.”

The money that is raised will bolster programming at the Ted K. Center, which operates an Early Childhood Program, After-School Program and Summer Program.

“Beyond everyday activities, such as homework completion, arts and crafts, play groups and recreational activities, funds will potentially help us provide a community garden project, which includes nine garden beds; two weeks of day camp at Camp Tapawingo, Point au Roche; art programs, such as pottery, painting and drawing classes; as well as recreational equipment and learning materials, Neale said.

“Neighborhood youth and families have grown to depend on ‘The Center’ to provide a diverse array of services related to education, employment, recreation and the arts.

“The Ted K. Center provides youth with positive opportunities for growth and improves the quality of life in the Plattsburgh Housing Authority and the greater community at large.” Neale said the Ted K. Center collaborates with many community partners, including the Clinton County Youth Bureau, United Way of the Adirondack Region, Plattsburgh City Schools, Plattsburgh City Police, SUNY Plattsburgh, Cornell Cooperative Extension and Plattsburgh Breakfast Kiwanis Club. “Youth will make constructive use of leisure time, participate in family and community events and enjoy positive interactions with mentors and peers,” he said.

“They will be provided a safe place to play, learn and socialize and be afforded opportunities they may otherwise not have the chance to participate in.”


Special Olympics fundraiser on Friday pits Flight Squad against…

LUMBERTON — Anthony Govan, the program specialist and Special Olympics coordinator for the Robeson County Parks and Recreation Department, said that Friday’s basketball fundraiser at the Bill Sapp Recreation Center brings “something new” to the local area.

The Parks and Recreation Departments from the City of Lumberton and Robeson County are joining together to host a basketball game that will raise funds for the Robeson County Special Olympics on Friday at 6:30 p.m. The event features the Flight Squad taking on the Wrecking Crew. The Flight Squad was founded in 2017 and is comprised of former college and professional basketball players.

“We wanted to bring something different to Robeson County and this is something different that people haven’t really seen before. It’s what we hope is the first of many new things,” Govan said. “It’s the same thing as the Harlem Globetrotters, but they are not as global as them. There will be a lot of comedy, good basketball and it will be a good family environment.”
The Flight Squad’s opponents, the Wrecking Crew, is a team made up of people from the local community that City of Lumberton Athletic Director Tim Clark put together.

“We are hoping that having local people in the game will get some people to come out and take on some top level talent,” Govan said. “That should make it interesting.”

Anyone under the age of four is free, while entrance for 5- to 12-year-olds is $3 and anyone 13 and up is $6. For more information, contact the Robeson County Parks and Recreation Department at 910-671-3090.


Basketball game to benefit Reedsburg shelter

Safe Harbor Homeless Shelter is planning a basketball fundraiser and hopes players will sign up to play for the home team.
The Flight basketball team, a group reminiscent of the Harlem Ambassadors, will play during a fundraiser from 3-5 p.m. Sept. 24 at Reedsburg Area High School. The shelter needs volunteers to play; the deadline to sign up is Aug. 15.
Players don’t need to be star athletes, said Darcy Swiscz, president of the shelter’s board of directors. Safe Harbor is trying to recruit adults from Reedsburg, Baraboo and Wisconsin Dells.

“It’s not that they have to play a long, strenuous game,” she said. “The more people we have the less time they have to be on the floor.”
All Flight basketball team members have played professionally for international teams or the NBA, said team President and

Founder Doron Lowe. He said those who made the NBA no longer play either due to being waived or injury.
The team is co-ed, and the female player also coaches, he said.
Flight basketball team’s visits include a halftime show with surprise twists. Lowe declined to offer details to avoid spoiling the event, but he described it as “‘The Fast and the Furious’ meets basketball.”

“We wanted to fuse together themes of speed and entertainment,” he said.

Swiscz said the shelter thought Flight basketball team would be a popular regional attraction that could serve as a fundraiser.
The organization hopes to sell as many tickets as possible to help cover operating costs. Safe Harbor, which serves only women and children, spends $171 a day on expenses such as utility bills and insurance. It relies solely on fundraisers and donations. The director is the only paid employee; everyone else volunteers.

Swiscz said it’s been difficult to raise money because homelessness in the region doesn’t look like what people see on TV or in metropolitan areas. Those who are affected may stay with friends, sleeping on any couch they can find, or turning to their vehicles for home. Safe Harbor not only provides a roof but also sets benchmarks for success, such as requiring employment searches and helping residents secure an apartment. The goal is to move them out of the shelter in a couple of months while giving them the tools to overcome their situation.

“People kind of close their eyes to homelessness,” she said. “”It’s not like in the city where you see them sleeping on benches or in streets. It’s kind of an invisible problem.”

For more information about Safe Harbor Homeless Shelter, visit Details about the Flight basketball team are posted at

Safe Harbor Homeless Shelter is planning a basketball fundraiser and hopes players will sign up to play for the home team. The Flight basketball team, a group reminiscent of the Harlem Ambassadors, will play during a fundraiser from 3-5 p.m. Sept. 24 at Reedsburg Area High School. The shelter needs volunteers to play; the deadline to sign up is Aug. 15.
Players don’t need to be star athletes, said Darcy Swiscz, president of the shelter’s board of directors. Safe Harbor is trying to recruit adults from Reedsburg, Baraboo and Wisconsin Dells.


WECNA versus Allstars at NISH

It’ll be an exciting day Saturday for New Iberia when the Flight Squad Professional Basketball Team will take on the WECNA AllStar Players in the gymnasium at New Iberia Senior High School.  The professional basketball show and game is coordinated by the West End Council of Neighborhood Associations, which has provided similar entertaining basketball shows in previous years for New Iberia residents of all ages to enjoy.  Flight Squad is a premier exhibition basketball team founded in 2017 with the goal of providing high level games in family friendly environments.

The game is scheduled to tip off at 5 p.m. WECNA fundraising chair for the event Warren White said money raised for the event go to WECNA, which puts money back into the community with the various projects and events it puts on throughout the year for the elderly and youth in town.

New Iberia players this year include State Rep. Blake Miguez, R-Erath, Seth Landry with Iberia Medical Center, Gilbert “Doc” Thomas, Tremel Castex, Athen Oliver, David Ditch, Larry Hensgens, David Merrill, YOGI with Young Hub City, Nick Johnson, Marlon Lewis, Floyd Sigue and Iberia Parish President Larry Richard.

There also will be a halftime performance by Young Hub City, a New Iberia-based music group.

General admission price is $10. VIP tickets can be purchased for $25 by calling Warren White at 201-4515. Tickets can be purchased from Gilbert “Doc” Thomas at AllState Insurance or Community First Bank on Admiral Doyle Drive.

White said the tickets also can be purchased at the door.
WECNA is a community organization that provides repairs to elderly people’s homes, handicap ramps at no charge, school supplies for children and is active in many other community events.


Flight Squad coming to Southside for roundball action

An exhibition basketball team is heading to Southside High School’s gym for a night of roundball action. Flight Squad, a team consisting of former professional athletes and Division 1 players who have played on teams in the U.S.A. as well as overseas, will play a local team usually including teachers, coaches, EMT workers, and people from local businesses. The event is scheduled for Saturday, March 24, at 6 p.m.

The game will benefit Family Violence Prevention, Inc. in Batesville. Tickets are $10 and are available at Citizens Bank, First Community Bank, and at the Family Violence Prevention office inside the Independence County Courthouse. Tickets will also be available at the door.


Flight Squad Basketball landing in Shenandoah

Basketball with a message is coming to Shenandoah later this week.

Shenandoah’s M-A-Y Mentoring Program, and the Shenandoah Rotary Club are bringing Flight Squad Basketball to the community for a special game Friday at 7 p.m. at the Shenandoah High Gym. M-A-Y Mentoring Coordinator Kim Leininger says Flight Squad Basketball mixes high-caliber basketball with entertainment, and words of inspiration.

“Flight Squad Basketball is an exhibition premier basketball team,” said Leininger. “They’re very high talented, very professional players. But, they make their skills into family entertainment. So, it’s a fun game with high-level skilled basketball, but a lot of fun, joking entertainment. And, they throw in some really good positive messages along the way. So, we’re super-excited about this event.”

Leininger says Flight Squad is an offshoot of the Harlem Ambassadors team that previously visited the community. “Five years ago, we did this with the Harlem Ambassadors,” she said. “The owners of Flight are the same owners who had the Harlem Ambassadors. It’s a different name of the organization. But, it’s the exact same thing as we had five years ago.”

Flight Squad’s opponents on Friday–a team known as Rotary Mayhem, featuring some familiar faces.

“We do have a lot of great local players,” said Leininger. “We have many of our Shenandoah coaches, some Essex coaches, some community members. They’re just people that a lot of our community members will recognize. And, they’re willing to be made fun of, all in good fun.”
Added attractions include the Shenandoah High School Jazz Choir singing the National Anthem, and the Valley Dance Company with halftime entertainment. Concessions and team merchandise sales open at 6 p.m. Advance tickets are $8 for adults, $4 for students. Children ages four and under are admitted free. Admission at the door is $10 for adults, $5 for students.

Tickets are available at Shenandoah Middle School, the M-A-Y Mentoring Office, Bank Iowa, Century Bank, Doug Meyer Chevrolet, the Valley News, Howard Clothing and Sporting Goods, McNeilly Garage Service, Millennium Chiropractic, Nishna Valley Cafe, Orton Realty, or any M-A-Y Advisory Board member or Shenandoah Rotarian. Sponsors include the Greater Shenandoah Foundation, the Kay Anderson Foundation, the Charles Hockenberry Foundation, the Cy Rapp and Carolyn Charitable Trust


An evening of laughs when Flight Squad took the…

A dance-off broke out during the All-Star Rotary basketball fund-raiser last Tuesday in Willcox. Steve Lawson and his daughter Caroline, 4, paired off against their opponent, the Flight Squad’s Corey Classic, to entertain a large crowd in Cowboys Gymnasium.


Traveling basketball team brings message of anti-bullying to Winston-Dillard…

A traveling basketball team brought an anti-bullying message to the Winston-Dillard School District on Thursday. They took their skills and comedy routine to Douglas High School after putting on a show for the Winston Middle School students earlier in the day.

The Flight Squad is a team of former college and pro players from around the country that uses slam dunks, trick shots and a comedy routine, along with kid-friendly commentary to get their messages across about combating bullying and harassment.

Yuri Belizaire, the host and DJ of the event, said the team members, who come from different backgrounds, are trying to spread a positive message to the youth of the nation.

“We want them to know we’ve been through the same struggles as they’re going through, and we’re just trying to give them a positive outlook on life. And we do that through basketball,” he said. Belizaire said everyone has been bullied at one time or another, so most of the kids can relate to what they talk about. “We’re no different than anyone else, we’ve been through what they’re going through, and the bullying aspect is something we like to harp on and get it resolved because it’s really not necessary,” he said.
Belizaire told the students there are three types of bullying in today’s society, including physical bullying, verbal bullying, and most recently, cyberbullying.

Douglas High senior Josh Herrera said the bullying message was important to him. He and a friend have both been victims of bullying, so it is needed, he said. “I like how they were able to bring up how there are different types of bullying, because most people think of punching, but it spans different spectrums,” he said. “It goes anywhere from cyberbullying to just remarks down the hallway.” He said cyberbullying has become very prevalent.
“It’s a terrible thing that something as useful as the internet can be used to put people down,” he said. Junior Mackenzie Gillis said the messages hit home with her. “I think it was very inspiring because I’ve gone through some of the same stuff,” she said. “I was bullied in middle school.”

The Flight Squad gets the kids and the teachers involved in the show, combining dancing, high-energy music and basketball skills.

Flight Squad members Kevin Currington, left, and Yuri Belizaire entertain students during an exhibition and anti-bullying assembly Thursday.

Kevin Currington, an Art Therapy major at Marygrove College in Detriot, Michigan, before becoming a member of the Flight Squad, said he enjoyed making people in the audience feel good while also discouraging bullying. And the timing couldn’t be better, since the event was held during Bullying Prevention Week.

“It’s giving back to the youth when you put a smile on their face and give off that positive message so it can carry on for them into adulthood,” Currington said.

Corey Classic from Beaumont, Texas, just joined the team two weeks ago, but he likes being able to have fun playing basketball while communicating with kids in a positive way at the same time.

“We live in a social media time, and I have a lot of kids that follow me from school assemblies and they tell me that I impact them in a positive way, and that right there means more than a little orange ball ever could,” Classic said.
The Flight Squad team, which is based in Los Angeles, was in California before coming to Oregon, and visited Corvallis on Wednesday night. The team put on a show at the Winston Middle School on Thursday morning, then headed for California right after the assembly at Douglas High School. They will be on the road until the end of their tour in the middle of May.