Good Sports for a Good Cause

By Jennifer Lee

Clarke County Education Foundation brings Harlem Wizards back to play February 9.

The Harlem Wizards basketball team returns to Clarke County High School for a second consecutive  year to take on the fierce Clarke In Motion team for a game that guarantees more entertainment than competition. “The response was just overwhelming last year,” said Kim Stutzman, executive director of the Clarke County Education Foundation (CCEF), who is hosting and benefitting from the event. The game was played in front of a packed house in 2013, prompting the CCEF to invite the Wizards back for a return performance.

The Wizards are a travelling troupe of former college and NBA ball players that combine athleticism with fun, humor, and wild antics to entertain audiences, mostly schools and non-profit organizations, around the country. “They are extremely entertaining. They are both skilled basketball players and entertainers,” Stutzman said. “And they are very fun and easy to work with.”

This is the fifth year of a CCEF-sponsored basketball tournament, an event created to invite the community to have some fun with school officials while raising funds for the foundation, whose mission is to promote, expand, and augment the educational opportunities for students and staff in the Clarke County Public Schools. Twelve thousand dollars were raised from the game last year to further that mission. CCEF has contributed a total of over $2.3 million to the school system in the last 20 years.

Tickets are available before game day at all of the county’s public schools, each of which engages in a contest to sell tickets. The school that sells the most tickets wins a prize. D.G. Cooley Elementary won overwhelmingly last year, and was awarded ten new basketballs.

“I have a point person at each school” to help coordinate and promote the effort, Stutzman explains. The roster of the Clarke In Motion team is comprised of four staff members from Clarke County High School, four from Johnson-Williams Middle School, four from Boyce Elementary, two from Berryville Primary, two from D.G. Cooley Elementary, one from Powhatan School, and a couple of community leaders.

“There will also be a referee, who becomes part of the show,” said Stutzman. Even though the game is played according to standard game rules, they are often twisted a bit to bring a theatrical and interactive experience to the audience. “They got a ton of people on the floor last year to do the Harlem Shake,” Stutzman said, referring to a popular video that combines dance, music, and comedy.

Tickets are also available at the Berryville branch of the Bank of Clarke County. Tickets are $11 for adults, and $9 for students until February 7. If any spaces are left, tickets can be purchased at the gate for $15/adult and $12/student. Concessions will be sold by the Eagles Booster club and souvenirs will also be for sale.

The high school’s gym capacity is approximately 1,150, and Stutzman predicts the event will be a sell-out again, so, she says, get your tickets today!

Game Day Details:

Harlem Wizards vs. Clarke In Motion , February 9; Clarke County High School gymnasium. Doors open at 2pm, game starts at 3pm. Sponsored by Jim Stutzman Chevrolet, Courtyard Marriott, Bank of Clarke County, and The Observer.

For more information, call 540-955-0430 or visit