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KJCC's high school basketball season ends with a win - of sorts

by KDOC News — last modified Feb 23, 2019 02:37 PM
The Topeka juvenile facility’s first-ever tournament ended in defeat for the Lawrence Gardner High School boys basketball team. But the loss failed to dampen the team’s pride as each received a pair of basketball shoes for the game.
KJCC's high school basketball season ends with a win - of sorts

Lawrence Gardner High School basketball team prepares for start of tournament.

The Kansas Juvenile Correctional Complex (KJCC) high school team, which lost by a score of 28 to 61, played Thursday against graduates housed at the facility. Prior to tip off, the boys traded out their facility-issued white Velcro sneakers for a pair of name brand basketball shoes.

Steven Bonner, a former Washburn University basketball team player who now works for the Kansas Department of Corrections’ juvenile services division, arranged the donation through his Topeka-based AAU basketball team, Kansas Hoggs.

In giving a pep talk to the high school team, Bonner told the boys he was impressed by their level of play and was glad to see the boys using teamwork and positive attitudes to reach their goals.

Bonner then had to jump out of the way as the boys ran to pick out a pair of basketball shoes.

“That’s why I did it - to see a smile on the boys’ faces,” Bonner said. “People donate to my non-profit club  so I have to return the favor. I was proud of my club for this.”

Other high school students, staff and family also cheered on the 13-member team who had trouble getting buckets to fall early on during four quarters of play.

Candice Byrd, a KJCC program director, said the goal is to make the game an annual event because of the positive reception from students whose behavior determined if they could attend the game.

The high school team’s six-week season was made up of inter-squad play prior to the tournament.

“We want the youth to experience something that is close to what they will experience in a tradition high school game,” Byrd said. “The overall goal is to create incentives for the youth to stay out of negative situations and participate in something that is pro-social, provides a sense of pride and teaches teamwork.”

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