The Fire Department was just too hot to handle in the inaugural Queens South Responders Basketball Tournament at Daniel O’Connell Park on Sunday, August 25.
FDNY from Engine 317 and Ladder 165 defeated the 113th Precinct, 30-15, before crushing the community team 36-18 to win the tournament.
Jamahl Wright of the fire team scored the most points in both games, with 15 in the first and 9 in the second.
The game was organized to bring local first responders and residents together to build trust in the community.
“First responders are our partners of the betterment of our community,” said State Senator Malcolm Smith, who played for the community team, drawing on his experience playing basketball for Christ The King High School. “More important than winning is the camaraderie that comes about.”
Members of the Fire Department wore red, the NYPD wore blue and the community had white T-shirts on. While the game’s main message was about unity, the teams played very competitively.
“We out here to win,” said Shaka Gaines captain of the FDNY team. “You got be able to brag about something. So when we see them we can say ‘remember the game.’”
The first annual event brought tons of basketball fans from the community to watch. Unlike the Jump and Ball Tournament games that have been in the park every weekend during the month, these games were special, because only adults participated. It was also unique, because it brought local responders to the park for fun.
“This whole thing came together two weeks ago, so it’s a win in my eyes,” said Johnny Hines, a Community Affairs officer of the 113th Precinct. Hines came up with the idea of the game a few weeks ago and reached out to community leaders to put it together. “These guys would never be here in this park if this [tournament] wasn’t here.”