By Rick Palsgrove
The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has let the air out of the basketball as the Groveport Madison Cruiser basketball program’s annual Red & Black Night event is cancelled for this year.
The traditional event, which began in 2016 under former head basketball coach Ryan Grashel, is usually held each year in November as a prelude to the basketball season.
But not this year.
Normally Red & Black Night showcases the teams of the Cruiser basketball program at all levels. The highlight of the night each year is the alumni basketball game where Cruiser old timers show they can still rule the rim and get up and down the court.
Other aspects of the event have included a dunk contest, a three point shooting contest, Cruiserette and cheerleader performances, raffles, bake sale, sale of old jerseys, and other activities.
“Unfortunately we will not be able to have our annual Cruiser basketball Red & Black night,” said Cruiser head basketball coach Lamont Hampton. “We cannot have so many different athletic programs and people together at the same place during this COVID-19 pandemic. I absolutely love how Red & Black night brings the Groveport community, our athletic programs, staff members, friends, and alumni together. This is why we will definitely look forward to continuing this great tradition in the future. Not to mention that it is all done for a great cause, which is to help support and raise money for Groveport Madison Human Needs.”
Added Groveport Madison Athletic Director Steve Petros, “With COVID requirements that we must follow from the Franklin County Health Department, we don’t see how it is possible to move so many programs in and out of the gym while also having community involvement. In the past, Red & Black has involved all high school and middle school basketball programs along with an alumni game. It is one of several things we have had to sacrifice this year.”
2020-21 basketball schedules
•Here is the tentative Cruiser varsity boys’ basketball 2020-21 schedule (games at 7:30 p.m. unless otherwise noted): Dec. 4, Reynoldsburg; Dec. 5, 2:30 p.m., Hilliard Darby; Dec.8, at Westerville Central; Dec. 11, at Lancaster; Dec. 15, Canal Winchester; Dec. 18, Pickerington Central; Dec. 22, at Grove City; Dec. 29, 7 p.m., Teays Valley; Jan. 2, 2 p.m. at Harvest Prep; Jan. 5, 7 p.m., at Logan; Jan. 8, at Newark; Jan. 15, Central Crossing; Jan. 18, 10 a.m., One Westerville MLK Day Classic at Westerville North; Jan. 19, Westland; Jan. 22, at Reynoldsburg; Jan. 29, Lancaster; Feb. 2, Hilliard Bradley; Feb. 5, at Pickerington Central; Feb. 12, Newark; Feb. 19, at Central Crossing.
•Here is the tentative Cruiser varsity girls’ basketball 2020-21 schedule (games at 7:30 p.m. unless otherwise noted): Nov. 20, at Bloom-Carroll; Nov. 24, Westerville Central; Dec. 1, Central Crossing; Dec. 4, 7 p.m., at Reynoldsburg; Dec. 5, 1 p.m., at Hilliard Darby; Dec. 8, at Canal Winchester; Dec. 11, Lancaster; Dec. 14, Logan; Dec. 16, at Teays Valley; Dec. 18, at Pickerington Central; Dec. 22, Grove City; Jan. 5, Pickerington North; Jan. 8, Newark; Jan. 12, at Westerville Central; Jan. 15, 7 p.m., at Central Crossing; Jan. 19, 7 p.m., at Thomas Worthington; Jan. 22, Reynoldsburg; Jan. 25, Watkins Memorial; Jan. 29, at Lancaster; Feb. 2, at Hilliard Bradley; Feb. 5, Pickerington Central; Feb. 12, at Newark.