Even with a full slate of important divisional games this weekend, basketball will take a back seat Saturday at Taconic High School.
The girls' basketball Coaches vs. Cancer Showcase will tipoff at 10:30 a.m. at Taconic with all 12 Berkshire County teams fighting a much tougher opponent than each other.
Not many people know that better than Mount Greylock girls' assistant coach John Jacobbe. Jacobbe's 8-year-old son Caleb lost a 13-month battle with cancer in 2006.
"Obviously, it means a lot any time any group of people are coming together to help fight this disease," Jacobbe said. "I teach and I coach, and I don't know many people who haven't been effected by it. I think it's important for us as coaches and players to realize how lucky we are and to be involved in trying to fight this God-awful disease."
As an assistant coach, Jacobbe isn't overly involved in the showcase, but knows the importance of the event. It's just one of several events he participates in to help raise awareness and money.
He organizes a poker tournament in Caleb's memory that raises money to fight cancer. Caleb's memory is also honored at summer basketball camps. The Caleb Jacobbe Camper of the Week Award is awarded at college camps around the country including the University of Florida, Boston College, University of Texas and the University of Wyoming.
"Everybody has had their family or their life touched by [cancer]," Drury coach John Franzoni said. "This weekend helps send a strong message to our kids."
Franzoni is a cancer survivor and has been a big component to putting together the showcase in the past few seasons.
The six-game girls' basketball Coaches vs. Cancer Showcase has set a goal to raise another $10,000 to help battle the disease. In their first year playing on a separate weekend from the boys, the girls raised just under $10,000 last season. They will try to top that mark this year.
Franzoni said all the schools are asked to raise money before the tournament. Last season, every team met the $250 goal they set before the event. Teams come together with several different ideas to help raise money. Several teams send junior varsity players around during the varsity game to collect donations and other teams do separate fundraisers.
"I'm touched emotionally everyday I wake up and see in the newspaper or on the news that someone else is fighting this," Jacobbe said. "I'm just glad that we're doing something to help support people who are fighting this disease."
The event was started six years ago by Hoosac Valley boys' coach Bill Robinson. It originally was just four teams and not all of them were from the county. It grew within the past few years to include all 12 schools on both the boys' and girls' side. The girls' showcase broke away from the boys last season in hopes of generating an extra day of buzz. It moved to the Pittsfield area because it is a more centrally located.
The boys' tournament took place on Jan. 5. It raised about $11,000 but the final amount is still being tallied.
The event will also have an extra wrinkle added to it this season. The inaugural class of the Berkshire County Girls' Basketball Hall of Fame will be inducted. The Hall of Fame ceremony will take place following the conclusion of the Drury and Wahconah game at approximately 5:30 p.m. Hoosac Valley and Lenox will follow the induction ceremony.
McCann Tech and Mount Everett get the day started with a 10:30 a.m. tipoff. Lee and Pittsfield close the day out with an 8 p.m. contest. Greylock will challenge St. Joseph's in the second game of the day. Monument and Taconic is the other contest. Price of admission is $5 for students and $7 for adults.
"We're looking forward to some really good and tying in the first announcement of the girls' hall of fame," Franzoni said. "It's going to be a nice weekend for girls basketball and for a very worthy cause."