Mount St. Mary girls basketball coach Rory Hamilton is looking forward to this weekend as much for what his team will experience off the court as what it will experience between the lines.
St. Mary will host the second “Hoops 4 Hope” event Friday and Saturday, a basketball festival featuring the two Oklahoma City Catholic high schools, St. Mary and Bishop McGuinness, matching up with Tulsa's two Catholic high schools, Bishop Kelley and Cascia Hall.
“It's been in the works for two or three years,” Hamilton said. “We started talking about incorporating the four schools into a basketball festival where not only do we get to showcase our teams but also provide assistance to Catholic Charities.”
The event started last year with Cascia Hall hosting and proceeds and donations going to Catholic Charities of Tulsa.
Next year, the event is scheduled to be hosted by Kelley before returning to Oklahoma City to be hosted by McGuinness in 2015.
This year's event starts at 10 a.m. Friday with mass at Sacred Heart Catholic Church, across the street from St. Mary at 2700 S Shartel.
After mass, the teams will load a truck, which will be sent to Catholic Charities, with supplies gathered from all four schools this week.
Each school has been asked to gather different items for donation this week.
“It gives the whole school an opportunity to either raise money or donate items that the charities need,” St. Mary boys coach Andy Fisher said. “That's one of the really cool things about this event, is it's not just the basketball team getting together to do this but we're getting the whole school involved.”
After a team lunch, the games begin with McGuinness vs. Cascia Hall girls at 1 p.m. The boys teams will play at 3, followed by St. Mary-Bishop Kelley girls at 5 and the boys at 7.
Saturday, McGuinness and Kelley will play a girls game at 11 a.m., followed by the boys at 1 p.m. St. Mary will take on Cascia Hall at 3 Saturday, followed by the boys at 5.
Admission to the games is free, though fans are asked to bring items that can be donated to Catholic Charities in Oklahoma City. Items include nonperishable food, baby items, laundry supplies and children's clothing among other items.
“It's a wonderful event for us as Catholics to show what we're about and for our school to be able to host it,” Hamilton said.
There is also plenty of basketball talent as well.
All four girls teams are ranked, with three of the four ranked in the top six in either Class 5A or 4A.
On the boys side, McGuinness is ranked No. 3 in 5A and Kelley is No. 11 in 5A.
“Normally, we wouldn't get a chance to play Bishop Kelley or Cascia Hall,” Fisher said. “I know McGuinness played them every year, but it's a great opportunity for us to see teams we wouldn't otherwise get to play.”