Burkett Leads Visiting Team to Back-to-Back “Coaches vs. Coaches” Victories
Hoover’s Charles Burkett picked up where he left off from last year’s “Coaches vs. Coaches” basketball game leading his visiting team to a 70-66 victory.
In the first ever “Coaches Got Game Too” matchup in 2015, Burkett finished with 17 points and the only dunk of the game that was the cherry on top of a sweet, comeback victory for his ball club.
Click link to see highlights of 2015 game.
This time around, Burkett and company led the entire first half, entering the break with a 36-31 advantage. However, similar to the previous year, the home squad didn’t go down without a fight. Led by Restoration Academy Demetrius Coates’ eight second-half points, the home team would go on a 17-to-9 run to take a 48-45 edge entering the fourth quarter.
Leading with just under five minutes left to play, home-team captain and event host Darrell Barber of Midfield said his team needed to continue to take care of the ball, play together and limit Burkett.
Barber’s ball club did everything but limit Burkett, allowing the scoring machine to finish with 15 second-half points, 12 of them from three-point range. But it wasn’t Burkett’s scoring, per se, that made the difference; it was his ferocious offensive rebounding that provided second-chance points for his teammates, proving that a player doesn’t have to score to change the game.
Although both squads struggled from the foul line, only completing a combined 12 of 30 attempts in the second half, the visiting team made free throws when they counted most. While at the line with under 30 seconds left in regulation, Woodlawn’s Chuck Winters repeatedly says, “show up in the big game kids” before sinking the second of two free throws. He and Burkett surely showed up in a big way to get the repeat victory.
Even though Burkett had help from teammates like Winters, he admits he missed former teammate Derrick Williams, who finished with 15 points and served as the floor general for the visiting team the previous year. Nevertheless, Burkett says he’s looking forward to getting the 3-peat next year.
All in all, the ultimate goals of the event are to raise funds for Midfield High School’s basketball programs, to unite high school basketball coaches in the Birmingham Metro Area and to get the local community together for a positive cause. In addition, local hip hop artist The Governor stopped by to perform his single “Focused” and 95.7 Jamz’s DJ Dirty Vegas made an appearance as well.
Although Coach Barber’s home team has yet to win on the court, he says his victory is in the success and growth of the event, which pulled in a larger crowd and raised more money than last year. The 3rd annual Coaches vs. Coaches game will be held in October 2017.
The Battle Off the Court
Although the Coaches Got Game Too event is held in October to unite local coaches before the season and official practices start, there’s a larger national movement that occurs in October to raise money to find a cure – that movement is Breast Cancer Awareness. However, there are millions of people that aren’t only affected by breast cancer, but many other types of cancer such as eye, stomach, colon, lung and throat cancer just to name a few. One of those affected people is legendary Wenonah High School girls head basketball coach and four-time state champion Emanuel Bell, whose battling lung cancer. Bell served as the home team’s coach in the 2015 Coaches vs. Coaches game.
But, Bell has the heart of a champion and asserts he’ll win against cancer the same way he wins on the court.
While giving his remarks on the event, Midfield High School girls head basketball coach Charles Thomas also offers words of encouragement for Coach Bell.
Video credit: Live Prep Nation
Along with Coach Thomas, other coaches and spectators sported pink socks, shoes and shirts in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.