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Elementary schools face off in Relay for Life charity game

SUWANEE - In 2007, staff members from Sycamore Elementary School were tossing around ideas of possible fundraising events for the school's American Cancer Society Relay for Life team when the notion of a little friendly competition between schools came up.

That notion eventually became the annual school-versus-school charity basketball game, which will see its third installment at 2 p.m. Saturday inside the old gym at North Gwinnett High School.

"There will be concessions and things, kids normally make signs," said Mark Lukehart, a third-grade teacher at Sycamore and its Relay for Life coordinator. "It is a very festive high-school, college-type atmosphere ... good community awareness for Relay for Life."

The first two years, Sycamore played Sugar Hill Elementary, with each school claiming one win. Saturday, Sycamore will face off against a new opponent, Suwanee Elementary School.

Lukehart said Sycamore's squad will be made up of teachers and parents while staff members and their spouses will suit up for Suwanee.

The contest has all the makings of a big-time game. There will be a rendition of the national anthem and the North Gwinnett High School Junior Air Force ROTC will present the colors before tipoff.

Both squads are practicing, Lukehart said, and will hit the court in uniforms.

It's all for a good cause, but competition is competition. Each school's principal will even get involved when Wanda Law and Dr. Kimberly Smith go head-to-head in a best-of-five free throw shooting contest.

Friendly rivalries aside, coordinators believe the game will draw its biggest crowd ever, a win-win situation for everyone.

"It's still the same people working for the same cause," Lukehart said. "All the money goes to the Relay for Life Fund ... it all goes to the same place."

Tickets will be available in the lobby of both schools and will cost $3 for adults and $2 for children. Tickets will also be sold at the gates for $4 and $3, respectively.