Basketball players ready to break record, raise scholarship funds

Dec 23 2011 - 7:27am

CLEARFIELD -- They'll need a special scoreboard for this basketball game, one that will count points into the thousands.

To raise money for the Fallen Heroes Scholarship Foundation while also breaking a world record, two teams will tip off Monday morning in the gym of the Clearfield Aquatic Center and play until Friday night.

"I imagine it will be 'game on' at the beginning, but as reality sets in, we'll just play for the time to pass," said Keith Christensen, of South Weber.

At 42, Christensen is the oldest of the 24 participants. The youngest is 16.

The players are in for a physically and mentally demanding week, as they will get only a few hours of rest at a time while playing for days.

"The main requirement that was hard for people is, they have to be at a gym the entire week and they can't leave," said Kurt Spencer, executive director for the Fallen Heroes Scholarship Foundation. "If they leave, they are disqualified."

Spencer is hoping to raise $50,000 for Fallen Heroes. The money will go toward helping immediate family members of fallen soldiers, police officers and firefighters attend an accredited institution of higher learning.

"Achieving a world record would be pretty neat, but it's second to the fundraising," said Ryan Braden, who will fly in from Liberty, Mo., on Sunday so he can start playing Monday.

Colt Call and Shawn Holbrock, two friends who will participate, returned from a National Guard tour in Iraq in June and were attracted to the idea because of where the proceeds are headed.

"It's kind of a fun way to say thank you to those who have gone before us and shown us the way," said Call, 24, of West Haven.

The event is also a fun way to set a world record.

In 2010, a team in Hungary set the current record for the longest continuous basketball game: 107 hours, 45 minutes.

With the flag ceremony and opening festivities beginning at 8 a.m. Monday, Spencer hopes the game will start around 9 a.m. He plans to have the action last until late Friday night for a 109-hour game.

Guinness World Records has provided Spencer with some specific criteria that must be met to set the record. Along with the players not being allowed to leave the gym, there are no timeouts during the game. Play will stop only when the ball goes out of bounds, a player is shooting free throws or during a substitution.

Players are allowed six fouls per two hours.

The public can attend the game for free and can donate money at the door. There will also be raffles for prizes and contests to guess the total number of points that will be scored and the total number of three-pointers.

As for the game, the players say they do not know what to expect. Never having been a part of a 109-hour game, there was not really a proven way to train for what lies ahead.

As to how competitive the game will be, the final score on Friday will tell the tale.

"I'm very competitive by nature and hate to lose, but we'll have to keep in mind this isn't an all-star game and we won't be recognized on ESPN's Top 10," said Marc Blanchard, 38, of Ogden.

"I hope we can maintain the integrity of the game and play up and down and make fun for the fans. But at same time, we have to pace ourselves."

The real winners, of course, will be the scholarship recipients.

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