By Eric Burgher
Six of the top high school basketball teams in the Chicago area competed this weekend, but the focus of the day was off the floor as the Danny Did Foundation raised just over $3,300 for epilepsy awareness.
The 7th Annual “War on the Shore” at Evanston High School was the foundation’s most successful to date.
“It’s a great feeling,” said Tom Stanton, executive director of the Danny Did Foundation. “It’s tough to keep momentum going for an event for seven years. And I think the combination of the great matchups put together and then the commitment from the schools to make it work – you don’t hear too often about a school donating proceeds to another charity because schools need all the fundraising and income they can get – but it’s a unique show of generosity to our foundation that we appreciate.”
Evanston High School played first-time host to the event, which had been at Loyola the previous six years, and featured three programs from Chicago’s North Shore – Loyola, New Trier and Evanston – versus Chicago and suburban schools Jacobs, Saint Patrick and Homewood-Flossmoor.
The foundation was started by Mike and Mariann Stanton after the death of their four-year-old son Danny in 2010. Tom, Danny’s uncle, was an assistant coach at Loyola at the time and learned the news of Danny’s death one Saturday after practice.
“[Loyola head coach Tom Livatino] was there with some of the other coaches,” Tom Stanton recalled. “He knew from the very beginning the devastation of what happened with our family. He wanted to start a shootout of some kind, and given we coached together, decided to make our charity the beneficiary every year.”
The marquee game, Evanston’s victory over Homewood-Flossmoor, was televised live. As a show of unity, all six teams wore shirts with the foundation’s name on it during warmups, and PSA announcements were made throughout the day with statistics and information about epilepsy.
“Partnering with Danny Did makes this special,” Livatino said. “Our saying at Loyola is ‘Men for others,’ and this is one of those things where it’s more than basketball, [it’s about] an organization and a family that’s very special to us.”
The organization also announced that next year’s event will be hosted for the first time at New Trier.
In Game Action…
In the day’s first game, Jacobs defeated New Trier in convincing fashion, 63-49. Jacobs got off to an early lead and never let up, led by junior Ryan Phillips, who led all scorers with 23 points. Sophomore Spencer Boehm was New Trier’s leading scorer with 11 points as the team dropped its second game in as many days.
Saint Patrick got off to a strong start against Loyola behind 15 points in the first half from senior Alton Thompson. But Loyola outscored Saint Patrick 23-10 in the third quarter and held on to win 69-60. Senior Ramar Evans led the way for Loyola with 19 points and junior Kevin Cunningham added 18 in the victory.
In the evening’s prime time game, host Evanston led by as many as 14 in the first half, but Homewood-Flossmoor narrowed the lead to three at the end of the third quarter behind senior Jeffrey Boyd, who scored a team-high 18 points. The Wildkits, however, outscored the Vikings 17-10 in the fourth quarter and won 60-48, led by seniors Chris Hamil with 17 points and Nojel Eastern with 13.