Cats Against Cancer Tournament supports families battling cancer

By Haley Mitchell Godwin

In its thirteenth consecutive year, the Cats Against Cancer Paxton High School basketball tournament brought together 17 schools and 24 teams for a weekend of spirited competition on Dec. 8 and 9. Held in Paxton, Florida, the event not only showcased top boys and girls basketball teams from across the two states but also served as a heartfelt fundraiser for families in the local Paxton area grappling with the challenges of cancer.

The tournament, a long-standing tradition, has become a beacon of hope and support for the community, as evidenced by the overwhelming turnout and the generous contributions made by players, coaches, sponsors, and spectators alike. Proceeds from the two-day event were dedicated to assisting families affected by cancer.

Friday’s matchups saw intense battles on the court, with the Luverne Varsity Girls Basketball team securing a decisive victory against Calhoun High School with a final score of 48-19.

The Brantley boys team faced off against the Central Jaguars, emerging victorious with a score of 63-55. Jayden Parks led the way for Brantley, amassing an impressive 26 points, 7 rebounds, and 5 assists.

The following day brought even more excitement, as the Brantley Varsity Girls Basketball team clashed with Paxton High School in a Cats Against Cancer game.

Unfortunately, the Brantley team fell short, with a final score of 29-51. The Luverne and Paxton matchup proved to be a nail-biter, with a final score of 47-40 in favor of Luverne.

Assistant basketball coach Carson Mock expressed the significance of the Cats Against Cancer event, emphasizing its role as more than just a basketball tournament. 

Mock stated, “For us to be able to help people in our community that are battling cancer means more than the result of any game. We couldn’t do it without our sponsors and community, as well as the teams that come and support the cause every season.”

Gratitude was extended to all participating teams and coaches who contributed to the success of the event. Mock highlighted the broader purpose of the tournament, transcending the boundaries of the basketball court and fostering a sense of community and compassion.

The gate receipts from the two-day extravaganza amounted to thousands of dollars, providing vital support to Chris Carnley, JD White, and Cade Supple in their respective battles against cancer. The Cats Against Cancer tournament once again showcased the power of sports to bring communities together for a greater cause, demonstrating that, in Paxton, the spirit of giving is as strong as the competitive drive on the basketball court.