High School Basketball Showcase to Benefit CHOC Hospital

Copy
facebooktwitterlinkedintelegram
High School Basketball Showcase to Benefit CHOC Hospital

The Sonora High School boys basketball team plays in a recent game. (Courtesy of Patrick Takkinen)

Dan Wood

Dan Wood

1/4/2024

Updated: 1/12/2024

Longtime Sonora High School Coach Mike Murphy first visited Children’s Hospital of Orange County (CHOC) in Southern California nearly 30 years ago while leading a boys’ basketball all-star team.
“I’ll never forget that,” he told The Epoch Times. “It was so sad. Cancer in general is just so awful.”
With that long-ago experience having provided the impetus, Mr. Murphy and his fellow Freeway League coaches organized the inaugural Challenge for CHOC Showcase, a one-day basketball festival that will be split between Sonora High in La Habra and Fullerton’s Sunny Hills High on Jan. 6.
All proceeds from the 20-team event, which will feature six boys’ games and four on the girls’ side, will benefit CHOC, a pediatric healthcare system based in Orange County, California.
“I’ve always wanted to do something for CHOC Hospital,” Mr. Murphy said. “I’m hoping we can raise a significant amount of money, and just as important as the money is the awareness. I’m a biology teacher, and I know we’re getting close [to finding a cure]. In the next 25 years, maybe, we’re going to be way closer.”
Admission for the games, five at Sonora and five at Sunny Hills, will be $10 for adults and $5 for students, children, seniors, and military personnel. Spectators will be asked to designate their school of choice.
“It’s sort of a challenge, a friendly competition, to see which school can raise the most money,” Sunny Hills boys’ coach Joe Ok told The Epoch Times. “We get to play a game, but at the same time, do something good for the community.”
Sunny Hills High School senior Erin Choi (5) dribbles the ball in a recent game. (Courtesy of Greg Kim)

Sunny Hills High School senior Erin Choi (5) dribbles the ball in a recent game. (Courtesy of Greg Kim)

Promotional videos provided by CHOC will be played at halftime of every game as a means of increasing donations beyond just the entrance fees. Donation opportunities are also available without attending the games by contacting the athletic director at each Freeway League school.
In addition to Sonora and Sunny Hills, boys’ teams from Buena Park, Fullerton, La Habra, and Troy will participate. Sonora, Sunny Hills, Fullerton, and Troy will also be involved in girls’ games, with Sonora Coach Melissa Barajas having done much of the groundwork there.
Organizing and scheduling the event was a challenge, because many teams had previous commitments. The original plan was to have the Freeway League schools playing their counterparts from one other league, and to have girls’ games one day and boys’ contests another.
The result turned out to be more of a mix-and-max approach. The boys’ field includes Irvine schools Portola, Northwood, University, and Woodbridge, along with Santa Ana and Whittier Christian. Canyon of Anaheim, El Modena of Orange, Brea Olinda, and Villa Park are other girls’ entries.
“We have some really good teams coming,” Sonora athletic director Arlie Kearney told The Epoch Times. “I would love for this to become an annual event, and I think it could be something that becomes pretty big.”
Mr. Murphy is certainly not short on ideas for growth opportunities.
“It would be awesome if we could get every school in Orange County to do it, make it bigger and bigger,” he said. “Maybe we can have some kids from CHOC come to games, just keep adding to it.”
There might even be a possibility of more visits to the hospital, like that one back in the mid-1990s.
“For our kids to see kids who aren’t as privileged as them, it’s a great lesson,” Mr. Murphy said.
Sonora High School girls basketball player Amiah Lewis (4) dribbles the ball in a recent game. (Courtesy of Patrick Takkinen)

Sonora High School girls basketball player Amiah Lewis (4) dribbles the ball in a recent game. (Courtesy of Patrick Takkinen)

Challenge for CHOC Showcase

Saturday, Jan. 6
At Sonora High School, La Habra
  • La Habra vs. Woodbridge (boys), 1:30 p.m.
  • Troy vs. Villa Park (girls), 3 p.m.
  • Troy vs. Northwood (boys), 4:30 p.m.
  • Sonora vs. Brea Olinda (girls), 6 p.m.
  • Sonora vs. Portola (boys), 7:30 p.m.
At Sunny Hills High School, Fullerton
  • Sunny Hills vs. Whittier Christian (boys), noon
  • Buena Park vs. Santa Ana (boys), 1:30 p.m.
  • Fullerton vs. El Modena (girls), 3 p.m.
  • Fullerton vs. University (boys), 4:30 p.m.
  • Sunny Hills vs. Canyon (girls), 6 p.m.
Admission is $10 for adults and $5 for students, children, seniors, and military personnel. All proceeds go to CHOC Hospital.
Sunny Hills High School senior Kingsley Ashley (4) dribbles the ball in a recent game. (Courtesy of Greg Kim)

Sunny Hills High School senior Kingsley Ashley (4) dribbles the ball in a recent game. (Courtesy of Greg Kim)

Dan Wood

Dan Wood

Author

Dan Wood is a community sports reporter based in Orange County, California. He has covered sports professionally for some 43 years, spending nearly three decades in the newspaper industry and 14 years in radio. He is an avid music fan, with a strong lean toward country and classic rock.

Author's Selected Articles
California Insider
Sign up here for our email newsletter!
©2024 California Insider All Rights Reserved. California Insider is a part of Epoch Media Group.