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$1,443.17 raised in two minutes at NY Mills Zach Gabbard Night

Center court was occupied twice during Zach Gabbard Night. The NY Mills Choir presented the national anthem and a ceremony and free will offering were held at halftime, along with a video tribute to Gabbard.1 / 3
Adam Snelgrove led the Eagles to victory with 21 points. Snelgrove hit five times from three-point land.2 / 3
Snelgrove has a #3 on his shoes honoring Zach Gabbard's struggle. It worked, as Snelgrove did not struggle making threes.3 / 3

Over 700 people attended last night's Park Region Conference match-up between the New York Mills Eagles and the Bertha-Hewitt Bears' boys basketball teams. It was a great local rivalry, but last night's game held a more important focus as the teams battled on the court.

"It is something to be part of a group, team or organization, but to be part of an amazing area such as central Minnesota is something that I am most proud of," Dean of Students/Activities Director Travis Hensch said. "Thank you to all participants and donators from the game. It truly was a night to be proud to be a member of this area"

The game was a see-saw affair with constant lead changes. Bertha-Hewitt took a slim three-point lead into halftime.

At the half, both teams gathered on the court in a joint effort to help raise funds for Perham basketball player Zach Gabbard. A heated conference battle took backstage as both communities listened to team captains from both teams talk about Zach and his battle. After a brief video of Zach, all basketball players from both teams entered the bleachers for two minutes and collected donations from the crowd for the Gabbard family. After those 120 seconds concluded, both teams entered the locker room and prepared for the second half of action.

"(The) report from the NYM Eagles-Bertha-Hewitt Bears game is a shining example of what people can and will do for another," Perham Athletic and Activities Director Fred Sailer said. "While it is not my place to speak for Zach's family, I can state with confidence that our school and community are in awe of what others will do for someone in need. Zach's situation and his ongoing battle is the stuff of legend; what good people will do for another is equally as moving."

The Eagles stared down a 20-game losing streak to the Bears, a stretch back to the 2000 season. Neither team could build a lead near double digits and a scoring battle ensued between Eagle guard Adam Snelgrove and Bertha forward Matthew Frethem. Frethem led all scorers with 23 points, including a circus shot near the hoop in the waning seconds to pull the Bears to within two with 12 seconds remaining.

During a timeout, Superintendent Todd Cameron delivered the final tabulation to the head scorer's table and an amazing announcement was made that the communities of Bertha, Hewitt, and New York Mills had donated $1,443.17 in two minutes. An enormous cheer erupted in the gym.

"Throughout all of this, I believe we have learned a lesson or two about perspective, the value of a greater community, and the thin line of leading a healthy, active life yet in the blink of an eye struggling to preserve it," Sailer said.

The Bears set up a full-court press to instigate a last second turnover or allow for a foul to stop the clock but Snelgrove was found streaking down the left sideline and sealed the game with a lay-up with five seconds remaining.

Snelgrove, sporting a number three on his shoes, led the Eagles scoring 21 points, five from behind the arc in an inspired shooting performance.

The victory is the tenth consecutive for the Eagles. The streak includes a lob-sided, 52-13, section victory at Waubun earlier in the week.

Eight Eagles got on the scoresheet. Tristan Huwe led all scorers with 11 points and seven rebounds in only 18 minutes of play. Snelgrove had nine points and eight rebounds. Bryce Pazdernik scored eight points to go along with four assists.

Robert Williams

Sports Editor at the Detroit Lakes Tribune. Williams worked prior as the Sports Editor in Perham for the Focus, a Forum Communications newspaper, from 2010-14. 

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