Basketball replaces dance as South Portland HS class fundraiser

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SOUTH PORTLAND — When this winter’s high school dance was canceled, the Class of 2019 had to find an alternative way to raise money.

Principal Ryan Caron canceled most of the school dances for the year last September, citing incidents of substance use that had been connected to the events.

To raise money, the sophomore class decided to book a game against the Harlem Superstars, a group that plays entertaining, comedy-style basketball. The game is set to tip-off at 2 p.m. Sunday at Beal Gymnasium. Tickets are $8 in advance or $10 at the door.

Sophomore class President Aaron Matthews created a Facebook page to promote the event and designed a website where people can purchase tickets at

The Harlem Superstars bill themselves as a “team committed to education and showtime basketball.”

The team features a lot of fan-to-player interaction, “razzmatazz” passing and exciting tricks, as well as a halftime show where they bring children from the stands to compete for prizes.

But the class had other roadblocks along the way to their fundraising goals, including a winter storm and the lack of a team with adult players who could compete against the Superstars. They rescheduled the game when a winter storm canceled the game that was originally scheduled for March 14.

They also assembled a team, the South Portland All-Stars. Resty Sapuan, South Portland High School special education technician and advisor to the Class of 2019, agreed to coach the team.

He said the first team practice will be a few hours before the game because of scheduling conflicts.

“We’ll give it our best shot. (The Harlem Superstars) are former college athletes, where our team will have a few players past their prime,” Sapuan joked.

The All-Stars roster, drawn from the school and business communities, includes Caron, WCSH sportscaster Lee Goldberg, sports talk radio show host Joe Palmieri, who also owns Chicago Dogs of Maine, and sophomore Shippen Savidge.

Matthews said he learned that “fundraisers take a lot of planning.”

“You have to be really organized, but I think we have done a good job as a group of officers and advisers to ensure the event is going to be a success,” Matthews said.

Sapuan said the goal is to raise $2,000. The money will be used for the class of 2019’s senior activities such as graduation, the prom and supplementing future fundraisers.

“It is going to be a really great time, and it is always great to see the community come out together and have a great time. I think South Portland is big on that,” Matthews said.

Melanie Sochan can be reached at 781-3661 ext.106 or Follow her on Twitter@melaniesochan.

The Harlem Superstars will play in a fundraiser for the South Portland High School Class of 2019 on Sunday, April 2, at 2 p.m. at the school’s Beal Gymnasium.