April 16, 2012

Sen. Manchin, Moss honor cadets | The Elkins Inter-Mountain

U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and NFL standout Randy Moss returned to the Kenneth "Honey" Rubenstein Juvenile Center, in Davis, for the center's third annual Charity Basketball Game on Friday.

The event benefited two charities that were chosen by the center's cadets - the Blackwater Ministerial Food Pantry and the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.

This year, Manchin and Moss were accompanied by a number of surprise special guests including winner of the sixth season of NBC's "America's Got Talent," Landau Eugene Murphy Jr., former West Virginia University quarterback Pat White, former WVU point guard Joe Mazzula and former WVU center Rob Summers, among others.

However, despite the high profile guests, the cadets were recognized as the night's stars.

Manchin said they were all there to honor and support the cadets.

"We probably believe in you more than you do yourselves," Manchin said, speaking to the cadets. "I respect you and I want to see you grow up to be strong, respectable West Virginians."

Moss urged them to take responsibility for their lives.

"You only live once and you have to learn from your mistakes," he said. "You have to keep striving to be the best you can be. Sometimes, it's hard. I know, I've made my own mistakes. But there is life after this. It's time for you guys to grow up and become men."

Moss played for the Rubenstein Center Eagles with cadets Jacob H., Dalton Y., Derek A., Gabriel P. and Kyle S., as well as Murphy, Mazzula, West Virginia Division of Juvenile Services Community Resources Coordinator Parnel Legros and Donnie Jones against the Senator's Team.

Manchin helped coach his team of West Virginia State Troopers and special guests, White, Summers, former WVU running back Quincy Wilson and Glenville State College head basketball coach Stephen Dye, among others.

The game was close and fast-paced, though the Senator's team started with an early lead.

Wilson scored the first two points two minutes in, and Dye grabbed a three-pointer a minute later. Then state police Capt. James Merrill made two baskets for four points, giving the Senator's team a 9-0 lead five minutes into the game.

However, five minutes later, the Eagles tied it up, 14-14, with seven points made by cadets. Cadet Kyle S. made four points and cadet Jacob H. nailed a three-pointer.

The lead traded back and forth until the end of the fourth quarter.

Then, with only 30 seconds left on the clock and a small lead, all five cadets took the court against the Senator's team of state troopers, football stars and 7-foot Summers.

Despite the cadet's best defensive efforts, the Senator's Team stole a two-point lead.

However, cadet Kyle S. closed the gap to one point with a foul shot and, after a miraculously long 13 seconds of intense scrambling - a time which officials slowed down by accidentally freezing the clock - the cadets sunk a layup for two points, giving them the win with one second left.

After the game, Rubenstein Center Superintendent Stephanie Bond presented Moss with a trophy for the team.

He said that the event was for all of the cadets and called them down to the court.

"This is your trophy. Get on down here," Moss said to the cadets who had watched the game from the sidelines. "We're here for all of you guys."

Moss reiterated that it was time for them to take responsibility for their lives and make something of themselves.

Then Manchin, Moss, all of the guests, the troopers and Rubenstein officials crowded together with the cadets around the trophy for a celebratory picture.

Later, the cadets said that they were very proud to have participated in the event.

"It was really wonderful to play with Randy Moss and everyone else," cadet Jacob H. said. "They really care."

Cadet Dalton Y. said, "It puts hope and spirit in the cadets to be a part of this."

The event raised more than $1,000 for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, as well as a large quantity of food for the Blackwater Ministerial Food Pantry.

The Rubenstein Center gave special thanks to Manchin, the special guests, PrimeCare Medical which helped cover Murphy and White's travel costs, and PSIMED Inc., which donated $1,000 to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.

By:  Joe Hoover