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Mothers play fierce game against daughters

KENT — It was a barn burner last Friday, Jan. 30, with a team of mothers fiercely opposing their daughters — not about staying up past midnight, but on the court, in the the fifth annual Mother vs. Daughter basketball game at Kent Center School.

The contest brought out more than 150 people to watch the game, a benefit for the Jane Lloyd Fund, which was founded five years ago in memory of Jane Lloyd, a landscaper from Salisbury who died in 2005 after an eight-year battle against breast cancer. The fund helps cancer patients pay for day-to-day living expenses.

“Four families in town are being helped thanks to this fund,†organizer and breast cancer survivor Mary Ann VanValkenburg said before the event. “And more than anything else, this is fun.â€

Both teams practiced for weeks for the event, with all of the players taking the competition quite seriously, especially considering the daughters won the past four games.

“To win, we have secret weapons,†player and mother Terry Pequignot, whose daughter Gina played on the opposing team, said before play began. “We’re not going to tell you what these secret weapons are, but if someone yells ‘Iowa’, look out!â€

Mother and player Stacey Kabasakalian, whose daughter Madeline, was a little more forthcoming with her strategy.

“The idea is that we look injured and tired to the other team,†Kabasakalian said. “That and the referee [Ed Epstein] takes bribes, preferably chocolate.â€

A bake sale to benefit the fund was held in the lobby with all things pink: pink ribbon cupcakes, pink cookies, pink pencils and even pink necklaces. Some players and spectators came into the game sporting pink hair. Pink is the color of breast cancer awareness.

The evening was all about raising money for a good cause. But for some players, it was also about winning.

“We’re going to win because we’re better than them,†player Shayla Lamb, 11, whose mother, Kathleen, played on the opposing team. “We practiced. And our strategy is. . . uh, I don’t know.â€

Referee Epstein (the former principal of Kent Center) brought school spirit to the event and said that, despite rumors of chocolate bribes, he had no favorites.

“It’s all about having fun,†Epstein said before the game. “And also it’s about no one getting hurt.â€

The first quarter of the game was one sided, with the daughters getting a major edge over the mothers, and scoring basket after basket. The mothers seemed to be slower than their daughters, with some team members accidentally guarding members of their own team.

The audience was split down the middle, with some cheering for the daughters and others yelling for the mothers. One spectator held a “Who’s your mother now???†sign.

By the time the game ended, it was a tie, 20-20.

“Gosh, it all happened in the last minute,†VanValkenburg said after the game. “It was 20 to 18 with the daughters leading during the last minute. Then within 40 seconds the mothers made a basket, ending everything in a tie. It was a great ending and it was great for both sides.â€

VanValkenburg did not have a final tally of how much the game raised for the fund, but said that, in her opinion, the game was a total success.

For more information on the Jane Lloyd fund visit thejanelloydfund.org.

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