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Annual Fire, Police hoops game sure to heat up

Each and every day members of the Lawton Fire Department and the Lawton Police Department are on duty, ready to help citizens if there is an emergency.

However, Sunday afternoon both services will allow a few of their personel to take a couple of hours away from their regular jobs to raise money for their favorite charities during the annual Lawton Fire-Lawton Police basketball benefit game.

While the big winners will be the charities of the two groups, one lucky fan will have a chance to walk out of the gym with $500 if they can make a half-court shot. 

The game will be held at 2 p.m. Sunday at the MacArthur High School gymnasium. Pre-game festivities will include special honor guards from the departments and special guests will be introduced. 

Tickets are $5 each and can be purchased from most LFD or LPD officers, or the doors beginning at 1 p.m. All proceeds go to support the two charities that the two groups support, the Robert Tahbonemah Scholarship fund for the firefighters and the Shop with a Cop program for the police department.

While both those great programs will benefit from the money that will be raised, one lucky fan could pick up some nice cash if they can make a half-court shot. Fans can register in the lobby and then one name will be drawn to try and sink the half-court shot during halftime activities.

Both teams have been practicing to try and make the game as competitive as possible.

"We've been practicing but we have real jobs and aren't able to practice as much as the firefighters," Lawton police officer Tim Jenkins said as he broke into a laugh. "Those guys probably have goals in their bays and are shooting all the time. But they better get ready because we're coming after them."

Jenkins, the police department's public information officer, played basketball at MacArthur and has been known to knock down long-range shots during his prep career.

Some of the other police players are Jonathan Santiago, Justin Thorne, Nick Chilcotte, Michael Spencer and Carlos Nazario, a talented football player during his prep career.

"These games can get really intense; both teams are very competitive and want to win," Jenkins said. "I know many of the firefighters and this has become a pretty good rivalry. The bottom line, though, is to raise money for two very important causes."

Jason Sellers is one of the organizers of the firefighters team and he's counting on another several other former high school athletes to help the cause. 

In fact, if it comes down to a physical battle in the paint, odds seem to favor the firefighters who have Sonny Puletasi on their roster.

Pulatasi is a former football All-State defensive end at Lawton High and a former starter at the University of Wyoming.

"He's probably about 6-3 and as strong as they come," Sellers said of Puletasi who also serves as a private trainer. "We should be OK if we can make some shots from the outside. Chris Jones is from Indiahoma and he can shoot the ball and Steven Monostori is a good shooter."

Sellers said some of the other players on the LFD team are Jason Swendlund, Jason Romero, Bubba Justus, Greg McConnell, Paul Berger, Travis Lee and Josh Burkhalter.

The Lawton Constitution

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