It was a cool yet dry sunny morning in the desert of Nevada when I entered the Henderson International School on Monday March 31st to honor the boys varsity basketball team as part of the 3rd annual MaxPreps Tour of Champions presented by the Army National Guard. I was greeted by their Athletic Director Mike Ostrowski who showed me the schools campus and athletic facilities. The school’s football field was one seen in many NCAA colleges, and the campus was incredible. Coach Ostrowski led us to the cafeteria where SSG Marco Irenze from the Nevada Army National Guard set up the National Guard booth to help display the Findlay Prep National Rankings Minuteman trophy to the entire school. After spending a few hours sharing stories and having lunch with the basketball team and their peers, we made our way to the afternoon clinic in the Gymnasium. As you looked around the gym all you could see were a hundred 4th and 5th grader students running around in their red and blue t-shirts, practicing and preparing for the night’s main event, the Blue and Red Game. In the clinic, the Findlay Prep basketball team was working with the children, teaching them how to pass, shoot, and dribble. SSG Irenze showed a few of his own tricks to the kids as well, with his attempt to match some of the teams three pointers.
As the night progressed the main ceremony began at 5:30 pm, with the National Anthem being sung by a 4th grade student. It was followed up by an introduction by Coach Ostrowski who introduced Chris Stonebraker from MaxPreps. Chris spoke about the teams statistics such as going 32-1 for the 2007-08 season, how Findlay Prep is unbeaten at 32-0 this season and is one of eight teams selected to participate in the National High School Invitational April 3-5 in Bethesda, Md. Chris then introduced SSG Marco Irenze, who spoke about the similar values that the National Guard and Findlay Preps basketball team share, like loyalty and hard work. Then SSG Irenze presented the National Rankings Minuteman Trophy to Coach Mike Peck who said some words about his team. In closing, we snapped some team photos with the customized Tour of Champions t-shirts, and continued on with our Blue and Red Night. It was a unique and exciting event, and a great start to the basketball tour…Go Pilots!