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Locals look for magic against Harlem Wizards in charity game

Harlem Wizards

The Harlem Wizards exhibition basketball team returns to Marble Falls on April 11 to raise money for Marble Falls Inclusive Play Group’s new park. Tip-off is at 7 p.m. and doors open at 6 p.m. in the Marble Falls High School gym. Photo from HarlemWizards.com

Lots of familiar faces will take the court against exhibition basketball’s Harlem Wizards on Tuesday, April 11. Tip-off is at 7 p.m. and doors open at 6 p.m. in Max Copeland Gym on the Marble Falls High School campus, 2101 Mustang Drive.

Some of the big names headlining this year’s local roster are Colt Elementary School Principal Melissa Fletcher, Marble Falls Fire Rescue Capt. Jeff Beltran, Highland Lakes Crisis Network Operations Director Rachel Naumann, and Marble Falls Independent School District board Trustee Crystal Tubig. 

Proceeds benefit Marble Falls Inclusive Play Group, a nonprofit planning to build an inclusive playground next to Colt Elementary.

Organization volunteers reached out to school administrators and city departments for players.

“Our goal is to represent all of the area’s schools and a few other community leaders to be a part of our team,” group volunteer Leigh Wessels said. “I think we got a wide variety of people. We’re really excited.”

MFISD board Trustee Larry Berkman will coach the locals. He has been a staple in Marble Falls High School athletics for over 30 years.

“We’re really excited for (Berkman) to be courtside,” Wessels said. “It’s going to be a lot of fun.”

Despite the coach’s expertise, the team might be a tad rough around the edges, Wessels said.

“We have not had any team practices,” she said. “Since it’s for fun, we’re telling them if they feel the need to brush up on some skills, do so. If not, do not worry.”

General admission is $15. Student tickets are $12. Children ages 3 and younger get in free. Reserved, courtside, and other ticket packages range from $25 to $85. Tickets can be purchased on the Harlem Wizards website.

All proceeds from the charity game will go toward the effort to build the inclusive park and playground, named Wyatt’s Clubhouse. Plans were released in July 2022 during the play group’s first fundraiser at Save the World Brewing Co. 

The park will include equipment that will let children with disabilities play among their peers. Some components will cater to kids with different sensory abilities.

“I think it’s important to show your kids and community that it’s important that everyone should be able to do the same thing together,” Wessels said. “We don’t want vital members of our community on the sidelines watching other kids do things they don’t have access to. We want everyone to have access to the same things and the same quality of life and quality of play.”

nathan@thepicayune.com