Friday night had a capacity crowd cheer on their teachers, principals, councilmen, policemen, firemen, DPW, BOE, friends, and neighbors for the 2nd Annual East vs. West Basketball Game at the Roselle Park High School (RPHS) gymnasium. Outside the gym, PTSAs from the schools sold food, refreshments, snacks, and umbrellas as the players warmed up. Signs peppered the stands as announcer Mr. Silberlight called the names of the members for both teams. Following the presenting of color from the Marine Corps and a playing of the National Anthem, the whistle blew and Roselle Park’s 2014 EvW Game hit the boards. Titles and positions such as Police, Fire, DPW, Council, Teacher, Principal, BOE all were stripped away and replaced with simply either East or West; but both were under one banner – Roselle Park.
At the end of the first half, the East took a four-point lead (18-14) with Chris Hernandez (#0) scoring 8 points followed by Josh Medrano (#1), Brian Swick (#4), Ryan Kelly (#5), Ray Torres (#30), and Keith Wintermute (#45) all scoring two points for the East. The West kept up the pace with Becky Antonelli (#0) scoring 4 points while Steve Matthews (#2) and Nick Agolia (#20) both shooting a three-pointer each. Teammates Brian Palang (#5) and Brian Petruzzelli (#22) both scored two points.
The crowd was treated to a half-time show from the cheerleaders of Park Elite as the players regrouped and got ready for the last two quarters.
The second half of the game saw the action heat up and even had BOE member Scott Bruckenstein (#33) from the East give his all, ruptured his achilles. He walked off the court amid applause and supportive cheers and was cared for by Roselle Park First Aid Squad members, who were at the game in case such an incident occurred.
In the end, even though Petruzzelli scored 5 points, followed by Greg Dunkerton’s (#10) 4 points and 2 points each from Doug Metzgar (#11), Virginia Gilcrest (#1), and Vinny Picarelli with Juan Allende (#44) having a 1-point basket, the East prevailed for the second year in a row. Two three-pointers from Michael Yakubov and five points a piece from Josh Medrano and Matthew Talbot (#11) along with two-points each from Eric Estevez (#40) and Ryan Kelly expanded the lead to result in a 38-30 game.
The idea, started by Roselle Park Police Officer Joshua Medrano, has been a great success with this year more stands needing to be opened right before the start of the game. The popularity of the game had some spectators wondering if more such events could be held as community events. There was even a suggestion to have a softball game between the different departments.