Alumni basketball game to be in memory of Joe Bacon
It was just a small ding Raymond Truitt heard at his window as he started to fall asleep in his bed.
Truitt’s bedroom, which sat next to the housing development’s basketball court, echoed with the small, but now very noticeable sound coming from his window sill.
The repetition of the knocking signaled one thing – Truitt was needed for a date on the court. But it wasn’t the type of late night date most high school students sneak out for.
It was a date with his best friend, Joe Bacon. And it meant both would be on the court shortly, battling it out for that night’s bragging rights.
Truitt and Bacon’s efforts eventually earned them spots on Williamsport’s state power basketball team. It also helped build a friendship that would hold until Bacon’s untimely death this past January 20.
Truitt will embark on hosting his second alumni series of basketball games this upcoming Saturday at Williamsport High School. This year’s edition will be title the Joe Bacon Alumni Game. It will benefit Bacon’s family, along with helping multiple other charities throughout the city. Doors open at 5:30, with the girls alumni game at 6 and the boys alumni game at 7:30.
Truitt’s young group of future Williamsport players also included Rasheed Campbell and Bryheem Justice.
“We lived in the same complex together, and (Joe) was a dear friend of mine,” Truitt said.
Both were part of Williamsport’s 1995 PIAA Class AAAA runner-up basketball team. Bacon was and Truitt is a Millionaire through and through, bleeding the school’s cherry and white colors.
Last year, Truitt, who now lives in Indiana and works with a sports agency that helps potential athletes get recruited after high school, returned to his roots to host a Williamsport-Loyalsock alumni game.
The event was a smash hit with the area. It also helped out a good cause with all of the money raised going to various charities, including the Lycoming County United Way, the AIDS Resoure Alliance, the American Cancer Society and Bethune Douglas (The Center).
The game even featured an all-alumni cheerleading squad.
This year, in the event’s second time around, Truitt will return with an even bigger goal. The alumni showcase will feature both a girls and boys game. It will also be broadcast on local television and the radio.
The money raised will go to similar charities like the American Cancer Society, but it will also be used to help the family of Truitt’s longtime friend, who is survived by his wife and two kids.
“We are still Millionaires for life, and it means something to bring alumni together,” Truitt said. “We are a unique bunch.”
In an area surrounded by Class A and AA teams, all of which have built quality rivalries throughout the years, Williamsport’s uniqueness stems from being that lone AAAA school sitting on top of the hill.
“Williamsport is a special high school,” Truitt said. “There is no other high school like it in the world.”
And not very many schools are called the Millionaires. In fact, Williamsport is the only school in the country to sport the nickname.
Pride is something Truitt has in spades for his former high school. And, because of that deeply rooted level of caring for his former school, Truitt almost guaranteed a high turnout in this year’s contests.
Two games were played last year, featuring players from the 80s, 90s and 2000s. Loyalsock won, 83-73 and 63-60, respectively.
The results were a little surprising considering the level of tradition at Williamsport. But, Loyalsock is also a proud school with plenty of history on the hardwood, as well.
If anything, the two losses should give the Williamsport players something to work toward.
“Williamsport players are always ready. They always want to come back and play,” Truitt said.
Of course, the most important aspect of the event will be all the money raised for charity, along with the rekindling of high school relationships.
“I keep hearing things about the shootings and killings and want to bring something positive to the area,” Truitt said. “I want to do something to bring back the happiness. I want to bring people together for some good clean fun.”
With the second incarnation of the event scheduled for Saturday, April 13, it seems the good clean fun will continue. And this year, it will help a former student’s family, as well as, continuing to help the same meaningful causes.