The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA


March 29, 2011

Donkey basketball fundraiser is tonight

SUNBURY — It’s on like Donkey Kong — or donkey basketball in this case — as Shikellamy High School seniors take on the Valley All-Stars tonight in a fundraiser of the furry kind to benefit Newspapers in Education.

An annual event since 2007, this year’s game kicks off at 7 in the Sunbury school. And it’s no small barnyard brawl, either. Last year, more than 1,600 people showed up to watch the donkey dunkfest.

The brains behind the 20-member Shikellamy team are Slade Shreck, The Daily Item’s customer service supervisor, and Sharla McBride, sports anchor and reporter for WNEP-TV and first-time donkey basketballer.

A native of Austin, Texas, where there is no donkey basketball, McBride said she’d never heard of the spectacle until she got the call to take part.

“I thought it was a joke,” she said, but “I am really excited. I’ve never ridden any kind of animal before. This should be fun.”

Asked if she has a strategy for her team, she said no, but her No. 1 strategy for herself is “not to fall off the donkey. And I don’t want my donkey to fall asleep or sit down. I want an active donkey.”

Longtime donkey dribblers Drew & Ali of the 94.1 WQKX morning show will lead the 20-strong Valley All-Stars team of students from Danville, Lewisburg, Line Mountain, Milton and Selinsgrove. Two kids from Shikellamy appeared on their show Monday morning to give the lowdown on the event, said Shreck, who has been part of the event since the first donkey grazed the Shikellamy court in 2007.

This time around, all players are regional high-school seniors, chosen for good attendance and grades, Shreck said. And all will wear their school colors.

And there’s more than donkeys at this showdown. Several passes for the Sunbury Community Pool are up for grabs, compliments of Ron Pratt and the city’s Parks and Recreation Department.

Newspapers in Education is a national program that brings local newspapers into classrooms. Locally, more than 21,000 newspapers a month are delivered to 17 schools.

“It’s a great cause,” Shreck said. “The Daily Item pays 75 percent of the cost to distribute the newspapers. We run fundraisers throughout the year to raise money to pay for the remaining 25 percent.”

And who are these warriors of the court? Riding for Shikellamy are Chelsea Snyder, Brett Yeomans, Shannon Stepp, Logan Koch, Cortney Marotto, Colin Patton, Jessica Lark, Mark Sangil, Brittany Underkoffler, Will Staffaroni, Samantha Remphrey, Omay Berry, Emily Daddario, Jake Heim, Alyssa Zerbe, Dominick Wolfe, Kristie Herb, Casey Shaffer, Jamie Simpson and Zach Cooper.

Valley All-Stars are, from Selinsgrove, Logan Hetherington, Cody Zechman, Candice Smith and Sarah Wenrich; Line Mountain, Kelsey Lagerman, Paige Swineford, Ben Williard and Trae Wren; Danville, Casey Klein, Hayley Kays, Samantha Zampetti and Zach Russell; Lewisburg, Nate Brown, Robbie Gaines, Emily Lesher and Rachel Sumfest; and Milton, Steven Downey, Morgan Greenly, Kyle Kovilaritch and Mandy Matzer.

Tickets are $6 at the door or $5 in advance and may be purchased at Shikellamy High School or The Daily Item.

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