Spanish Fork High School boys basketball, police department provide community with night of fun

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Basketball is more than just a game at Spanish Fork High School.

The school’s varsity basketball team has used its preseason scrimmage as a means to bring together the community and the school through a common passion. Each year, the basketball team invites the Spanish Fork Police Department for a friendly competition.

The most recent iteration of this tradition was Friday, Nov. 18, which came four days ahead of the team’s season-opener against Woods Cross High School.

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The event featured a scrimmage between the sophomore and freshman teams before the combined varsity and junior varsity teams took on the police department.

Spanish Fork Head Coach Garrett Johnson said the event is meant to be fun while also providing a way for his players to honor both the police officers and first responders.

“The police officers serve our community so much,” Johnson said. “It is important that we try to help them in any way that we can and have some fun at the same time. I want my players to be good people and serve their community in any way they can.”

Spanish Fork Police Department detective Kylie Packard, who also serves as school resource officer at SFHS, helped make this year’s event possible. Packard said that the police department loves to take any opportunity it can to interact with the community, adding that the scrimmage provides a great chance to accomplish that goal.

“The basketball scrimmage is always fun because you get the student body section who cheers for both sides, but you will hear them cheering for the Police Department louder than the boys team,” Packard said. “It is a good time to again gain that rapport with not only the parents but the high school kids.”

Although the basketball team is gearing up for its season, Johnson said the event is meant to be fun. He said there’s often a light-hearted nature that surrounds the scrimmage with a lot of joking that happens. Some of the antics include tickets being written, handcuffing players and playing with nine players at a time.

“It is a fun event to play some basketball as well and give the community an opportunity to come and see the basketball team before the season starts,” Johnson said.

This preseason scrimmage has been a tradition that coaches have developed over the years. Johnson said the event started about four years ago under then head coach Ryan Kunzler.

The initial event was a hit among the students, players, police department, community and all others who became involved. Thanks to the initial enthusiasm behind the event, the basketball coaches decided to keep it going.

Packard said she really enjoys this annual event because of the positive interactions the police department has with those who attend.

“After the game, you get many people who come and talk to us officers,” she said. “They love watching as much as we do playing this night every year. You get a lot of people in the community who attend this game, so it is fun to see everyone out and about supporting our department.”

Johnson said he’s really enjoyed hosting this event each year because it allows the community a chance to come together and enjoy some basketball.

“Hopefully, this is a tradition that we can continue into the future,” he said.

Josh Martinez
Josh Martinez
Josh Martinez is a graduate of Southern Utah University and Arizona State University where he studied communication and journalism. He has written for numerous publications in both Arizona and Utah on a bevy of topics including sports, city government and education. Martinez is a 2009 graduate of Springville High School and lives in Springville with his high school sweetheart and two kids
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