FLORESVILLE -- Those not in attendance for the Jan. 31 basketball game here between the Harlem Ambassadors and the Wilson County Crime Stoppers Tipsters certainly missed out on a good time.
The Ambassadors, a show basketball team known for putting on charity shows for small towns throughout the country, rolled into town for a game against players from the various communities in and around Wilson County.
It was apparent straight out the gate that the community was in for an unforgettable, family friendly evening of sports entertainment. Three seconds into the game, the Ambassadors scored their first basket with a slam-dunk by 6-foot-5-inch forward Alexander Wright Jr. The Ambassadors went on to add two more baskets before Karnes City Assistant Principal Raymond Robinson broke the run with a pair of baskets for the Tipsters.
In the final seconds of the first quarter, with the score at 15-7, an Ambassador barreled over the top of Courtney Laskowski of the La Vernia News, yet neither referee Jim Burdette -- Wilson County Pct. 3 justice of the peace -- nor La Vernia school board President Mike Jendrusch blew a whistle, and play continued on. Deon Hughes II slammed the ball down at the buzzer for the Ambassadors, and the Tipsters trailed by 10.
The Ambassadors scored on another dunk to start the second period, but Savannah Hussey of H-E-B scored to make it 19-9. After nearly sinking a 3-pointer, La Vernia Special Education Director Ron Glazener Jr. tripped over the stripe at midcourt, and was down on the floor. Judge Marvin Quinney attempted another 3-pointer for the Tipsters, but his shot resulted in an “air ball” and play was suspended while the judge did pushups at center court. Savannah sank another basket for the Tipsters, and the score stood at 24-11 midway through the period.
At some point during play, Ambassador KiAngela Smith took La Vernia Junior High School Coach Danny Gonzalez to the floor, and showed off many of her finest wrestling moves. She eventually scored a pin fall on Gonzalez, and celebrated with a dance and gold belt.
Gonzalez was eventually awarded two shots from the charity stripe, but it was anything but a free pass, as the Ambassadors gave him less than helpful hints for sinking a basket. After five attempts, Gonzalez sank a free throw, making the score 30-12. A dunk at the buzzer made the halftime score 32-12.
Prior to the start of the second half, the crowd earned the Tipsters 43 seemingly random points by virtue of cheering and a hot dog delivered to the scorer’s table. With the scoreboard now reading 55-32 in favor of the Tipsters, play resumed.
Late in the fourth quarter, with the score at 75-65, the basketball was traded for a football. Players from both teams then turned the would-be football game into a dance contest, as Floresville Coach Drew Tackitt, Floresville Superintendent Jerry Hunkapiller, and Gonzalez showed they may be better dancers than basketball players. A few more baskets and a few more laughs eventually ended the game and the night with the Ambassadors winning, 77-67.
The Ambassadors’ game was a fitting end to January, which was declared by Gov. Rick Perry as Crime Stoppers Month in Texas. According to his proclamation, anonymous tips to Crime Stoppers programs in the state have led to 175,000 arrests and $1.2 billion in property recovered and narcotics seized since 1976.
Crime Stoppers of Wilson County’s board President Marrie Aldridge said proceeds raised from the Ambassadors game will be allocated toward the operating fund, which finances the organization’s day-to-day functions including administration, recurring software expenses, and call-center fees. Crime Stoppers’ restricted fund is used to fund rewards for information that anonymous tipsters provide to help law-enforcement agencies solve crimes.
“[Crime Stoppers] is the only avenue for people to give information and remain totally anonymous,” said Aldridge, a retired Texas Ranger. “There’s nothing else like it.”
Tipsters who contact Crime Stoppers via telephone, online, or through a text message are given a code number that will be used to claim their cash reward if the information results in an arrest, recovery of stolen property, or the safe return of a missing person. Aldridge reminds residents that Crime Stoppers never will ask for a tipster’s name and that operators have no way of determining the identity of those who provide information. Furthermore, Crime Stoppers’ records cannot be obtained through a court subpoena.
Those wishing to contact Crime Stoppers can:
•Dial 830-393-INFO (4636).
•Text the word “MONEY,” along with the tip to 274637 (CRIMES), from a cellular telephone. Standard messaging rates apply.
•Visit bit.ly/NDrIut and click “Submit a Web Tip.”