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Teachers and deputies court rivalry

PINE PLAINS — Stissing Mountain High School hosted a charity basketball game on Wednesday, Dec. 14, to collect food for the Pine Plains Community Food Locker.The stands along the basketball court were full of excited basketball fans, all of whom donated nonperishable food items to gain entrance into the game.High School Principal Tara Horst, who organized the event, said “a ton” of food was donated by the spectators, for which she was grateful.On the floor, the Stissing Mountain teachers’ team faced the Dutchess County Sheriff’s Office’s team for the third annual charity basketball game.The teachers’ team scored the first basket of the game, but the sheriff’s team quickly took the lead. The score was 20-23 at halftime with the deputies’ holding on to a narrow lead.It wasn’t until the fourth quarter that the sheriff’s team pulled more than a few points ahead.The final score was 33-48 with the sheriff’s team securing the win.Detective Vincent Stelmach said he was pleased with his team’s win. “It was a good game, but we finally got some redemption. [The teachers] dropped us the last two games.”Yet the win was secondary to the great cause it benefited and the fun the players had, he said.The game remained friendly, but competitive. Many of the teachers and deputies knew each other off the court, and several of the deputies were Stissing Mountain alum.There was even a bit of family rivalry on the floor as Detective Jim Haire faced off against his oldest daughter, Josefine Wilber, a teacher at the school.“It was a good game,” said Haire. “The teachers are a lot of fun to play against.”Haire said that he enjoyed participating in the game to benefit the food bank and to “help the community out through these tough times.”Horst said that the school uses the charity basketball games as a way to teach the students how to be good community members and how to be civically responsible.“Ultimately, we’re trying to produce good citizens,” she explained. “It’s one of the main things we try to teach at the school.... To me, it’s just as important, if not more so, than [the traditional subjects].”She said that the games also teach community spirit and school spirit while also acting as a cultural exercise that allows the students to see their teachers in a different light.Members of both the teachers’ team and the sheriff’s team said that they look forward to the next time they will face off for charity.Horst said she hopes to arrange another game in the spring.

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