Girls Basketball Teams Serve Community

Girls Basketball Teams Serve Community
By Tony Baranek, Daily Southtown

One of my favorite lines regarding what I do for a living puts a blanket on it.

They’re all good kids.

That was never more true than Saturday, when the girls basketball teams from Hillcrest and Stagg gathered for a morning and afternoon of charity and competition.

It started down the street from Hillcrest at 8 a.m., when the girls met in the parking lot at Hillcrest Baptist Church.

The girls helped bring in truckloads of nonperishable food and other household items, which they distributed to needy and elderly members of the community.

According to Hillcrest assistant coach Vernell Glover, more than 60 people showed up in the rain to accept the goods.

Afterward, the two teams played in a nonconference game at Hillcrest. The Hawks came away with a 56-48 win.

I’ll tell you what, though: In my eyes, there wasn’t a single loser in the gym.

The only thing missing was the event’s coordinator, Hillcrest coach Ed Schodrof.

Schodrof was in the hospital being treated for severe bronchitis.

“Coach sent his regards,” Glover said. “Coach S. has really instilled the value of community with our girls in this program.

“It has always been a vision of his to have the girls work with the community and give back. We invited our friends from Stagg to join us, and it was a beautiful event.”

It was a real motivator for Stagg junior Gail Korbitz, who scored a career-high 24 points in the game.

Korbitz had a huge smile when I asked her about it.

“We woke up really early, but it was worth it,” Korbitz said. “To do this with Hillcrest was a cool experience. The people came in waves.

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“The girls from Hillcrest were really nice, sweet people. It was great just walking around and talking with them.”

It was the second time this season that the Hillcrest girls took part in what is a monthly distribution at the church.

“It was real fun,” Hillcrest senior Trinity Duckworth said. “I always like helping people out. And it was fun to meet with the other team, talk with them and get to know them off the court.

“When I see somebody on the street, it’s my immediate reaction to go see what I can do to help. It was heart-touching to be there and see that they received what they needed.”

Assistant coach Mark Clark could see it in the kids’ eyes.

“It was character-changing,” Clark said. “They saw some people come in and could envision being in that position. It really gave them something to think about.

“Today’s kids are so privileged. And to see people who are needy is a real character builder.”

Schodrof, meanwhile, was released from the hospital on Sunday.

“I saw the photos, and I was very happy,” Schodrof said. “It was good to see. I was proud of the fact that the coaches and the kids got the job done.”

Last season, his first with Hillcrest, Schodrof took the team to a Christmas celebration at the Hazel Crest Park District, where the Hawks served food to the elderly.

He’s genuine, folks.

“I guess as I got a little bit older, this is something I wanted to do,” Schodrof said. “I mean, you talk about doing these things a lot, but you have to make the time. I think it’s an important extension of your team and helps your team come together.

“I have really taken this to heart. This is something we’re going to tackle more in depth. To do it with another team was pretty cool. I’m glad we picked Stagg.”

Hillcrest did well by picking Ed Schodrof.