East Texas charities showcased in 2022 KTRE Pineywoods Showdown

East Texas charities showcased in 2022 KTRE Pineywoods Showdown
Published: Apr. 18, 2022 at 10:35 PM CDT|Updated: Apr. 18, 2022 at 11:33 PM CDT
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NACOGDOCHES, Texas (KTRE) - Three East Texas charities will benefit from the 2022 KTRE Pineywoods Showdown in Lufkin on Thursday night.

The annual All-Star game is back for the first time since 2019, after taking off two years due to concerns over COVID-19. The 10 prior years had seen great basketball that in the end benefited great charity work in the community.


Both Nacogdoches All-Star teams will play for Love Inc. of Nacogdoches. Love Inc is a Christian -based clearing house for area churches and other non-profits. They do everything from helping people furnish their apartments or homes to providing gas cards to those in need.

“They are a great local charity that gives back to the community,” Nacogdoches County girls coach Lance Taylor said. “We cannot think of anyone better than them. A lot of the all-star games you go to it is about ‘me, me me. How many points can I score. ’ This puts it into terms that, ‘Hey we are playing for something. We are playing for someone. Lets go out there and play team basketball and get the win.’”

Love Inc. has been busy over the past several weeks. Executive Director Patti Goodrum said they have over 30 new clients due to the recent string of severe weather storms in the area, including victims of an EF-2 tornado in Cushing.

“We have been real involved in what is going on out there helping people get help until they rebuild or do what they need to do,” Goodrum said. “A lot of that help neighbor fund works with folks that are in apartments right now from the tornadoes.”

Nacogdoches County boys coach Chase Phillips has helped Love Inc. before in the game and felt it was worth helping a second time.

“Just giving back to people in need and they way they go about it and do it is something special,” Phillips said. “It is something that this community needs.”

On the south side of the river two charities will be represented by the Angelina County teams.

The boys will play for the East Texas Cancer Alliance of Hope. The non-profit was founded by cancer survivor Ashley Berry.

“There were tons of needs that I had,” Berry said. “I thought there has got to be other people out there experiencing the same thing. For me, ‘It was do I get assistance with paying my car note or do I allow my car to be repossessed or lose my apartment. I do not think people should have to make those type of decisions.”

Angelina County boys coach Patrick Sluga has chosen a cancer non-profit for the game before. Sluga’s mom and grandmother both battled brain cancer.

“Cancer has touched almost everyone on the planet at some point,” Sluga said. “Teaching these kids about giving back to the community and helping out is important.”

The Angelina County girls will be playing for Embrace It. The fairly young non-profit, founded just over a year ago, connects mentors with Angelina County youth. They do everything from a monthly brunch to trips.

“They get to meet with their mentors once a month with the ‘Brunch with brothers,’” board member JeLisa Jordan said. “They get to have a great brunch and hang out with friends. They get to talk about topics from school related to financial topics. It really just expands them outside of their normal day to day.”

The group has also taken some of their participants to Memphis to see the National Civil Rights Museum at the Lorraine Motel.

“We’re focusing on getting to know them as individuals not trying to judge them, not trying to pre-assume what their past is or what they’re going through,” Angelina County girls coach SaDale Lamb said. “Some of the questions we ask is to get them engaged in conversation because some of them don’t have anyone to open up to.”

The games will tip off at 6 p.m. with the girls action from the Panther Activity Center on the campus of Lufkin High School. The boys game will follow. Tickets are $5 and all the proceeds will go back to the charities. Children 5 and under are free.

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