Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Congressmen, Professors Raise $171,000 To Benefit Homeless

There was rule-breaking, finger-pointing, tricky maneuvering and foul play. Everyone fought hard, worked with his team and tried to make his side come out on top.

For many of the players at the 16th annual HomeCourt basketball game, it could have been a typical day at work. But on Wednesday, U.S. Congressmen and Georgetown University Law Center professors put aside memories of the House of Representatives or the courtroom to duke it out at McDonough Gymnasium in a charity game benefiting the Washington Legal Clinic for the Homeless. The event raised over $170,000 for the clinic, which provides pro bono legal services to homeless people in the Washington, D.C. area.

Georgetown’s team, the Hoya Lawyas, missed a fourth straight win by five points in a close game marked by thrilling fast breaks and spirited offense and defense – if also a few fumbled balls and some erratic shot accuracy.

The Hill’s Angels, represented on the court by seven congressmen from states around the country – plus the son of their coach, Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones (D-Ohio) – pulled out to an early lead and dominated the first half of the game. Led by Rep. Kenny Hulshof (R-Mo.), Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) and Jones’ son, Mervin Tubbs Jones, the congressional team seemed to exhibit the stereotypical politicians’ disregard for the law as they brushed back the legal scholars to lead 26-23 going into the second half.

But the Lawyas came roaring back after halftime, netting a series of baskets and snatching up rebounds to take a seven-point lead. With less than four minutes to go, however, the Hill’s Angels tied it up at 47 with a three-pointer by Hulshof. The Lawyas pulled even with two minutes remaining on the clock, before Rep. Joe Baca (D-Calif.), in his only basket of the night, sunk a three-point shot to break the tie and pave the way for the Angels’ eventual win, 54-49.

If some of the Lawyas’ on-court standouts seemed a little too young for tenure, it was because they were; a handful of graduate students supported the law teachers against the lawmakers, with exceptional results.

Brian Lewis was the highest scorer on the team with 18 points, followed by Ehren Halse-Stumberg with eight and Thomas Karr and Jon Stewart, who each had six. Additional great plays were provided by professor David Vladeck, Jacque McCray and Daniel Okonkwo.

“The team put in a great effort,” Lawyas’ coach and GULC Assistant Dean Everett Bellamy said. “Everyone contributed; everyone did a good job. Unfortunately, we lost, but it was for a good cause.”

Before the game, WLCH Executive Director Patricia Mullahy Fugere thanked the Georgetown faculty and the congressmen, calling the clinic’s “great relationship” with the two groups “one of its many blessings.” She did note that it had been a difficult year for the homeless, especially with the unusually harsh winter, and said that the money raised by the game would be enormously beneficial for the clinic’s work.

During one of the breaks in the game, Law Student Coordinators Wendy Walker and Alison O’Connell presented Fugere with a check for $171,930 for the WLCH. Walker and O’Connell headed the GULC student committee that organizes the event every year.

The record-breaking sum is the result of significant donations by individuals and organizations, a faculty bartending night at the law school and a silent auction held during the game. Brisk ticket sales helped as well, with a few hundred students, staff and family members attending. Approximately 60 congressional pages formed the cheer section for the Hill’s Angels.

After the game, a beaming Stephanie Tubbs Jones called the game a “great win,” and admitted that she had been a little nervous starting out with so few players. “I’m just pleased that our team came through,” she said, “especially since we didn’t have one practice [beforehand].”

At that point, Bellamy – whose team had held just two scheduled practices before – approached and teasingly asserted that the congressmen practiced casually all the time at their gym in the Capitol.

Such informality was more characteristic of the atmosphere at the game than the often-aggressive play on the court. During halftime, a group of congressmen and professors were persuaded to come out to center court together and show off their dance moves to a hip-hop beat.

And in the last few minutes of the game, as the congressional pages chanted “goodbye” to the Hoya Lawyas from across the gym, the law school crowd responded with an appropriate chant of their own:

“We – will – sue – you.”

Daniel Okonkwo praised the enthusiasm of everyone involved in the game. “It’s a lot of fun,” he said. “You see everyone just smiling, having a good time.”

Even despite the Angels’ win?

“We had to let them get one so that they come out again next year,” he said.

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