Anoka held Blaine to a season-low points total in a 46-42 victory in a regular season Northwest Suburban Conference game Jan. 30 that held a lot more meaning than a final score.
The evening was dedicated to raising money for cancer research through the Coaches versus Cancer program.
Both sides wore the same pink t-shirts to commemorate the event instead of the usual team warm-up top in addition to hot-pink or green shoelaces.
Even the coaches got into the act with pink-laced tennis shoes to go with shirts and ties.
Anoka High School Principal Michael Farley, who welcomed everyone to the game, illustrated the fact that nearly everyone has been touched by cancer. He had everyone raise a hand if they, a friend, parent or family member has been diagnosed with some form of cancer.
Virtually everyone in the fieldhouse had an arm raised as a powerful message about the reach of cancer.
Anoka and Blaine fans helped raise $2,137 to be donated to the American Cancer Society.
During halftime Anoka senior and cancer survivor Taylor Fournier shared a message about cancer before fans took part in a 76-second drill. The 76 seconds represents the number of Minnesotans diagnosed with cancer each day. Fournier and 16 others, who have had a personal battle with cancer, passed buckets through the stands asking for donations. In the end, they generated $748.
Money was also raised by selling tickets to be entered into a drawing for one of three chances at a halfcourt shot. No one made the basket or took home the $5,000 prize (sponsored by State Farm).
In addition to the money raised, the Anoka Basketball Booster Club collected non-perishable food at the door for $1 off admission. The boosters collected four boxes to be donated to the Tornado Take-Out, the Anoka High School Food Shelf which helps homeless or needy students and their families in the Anoka-Hennepin School District.
Anoka opened on a 15-5 run and led 24-15 by halftime. Despite outscoring the Tornadoes 27-22 in the second half, Blaine couldn’t overcome the early deficit to drop its overall record to 9-10. Blaine guard Kyle Cappard all scorers with 18 points.
Anoka senior play-makers Stephen Barthold and Torry Ledin contributed 12 and 11 points, respectively, in the third win of the season.
The two other wins came against Coon Rapids.
Jason Olson is at