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Celebrities shoot down Glendale Unified in Stars Shooting for Hope

Annual Desi Geestman charity game is successful and dramatic to the end.

March 08, 2013|By Andrew Shortall, andrew.shortall@latimes.com
  • Hamza Abdullah, center, a member of the Arizona Cardinals and the celebrity team in the fifth annual Stars Shooting for Hope shoots a jumper with Samson Injigulyan, right, going for a block.
Hamza Abdullah, center, a member of the Arizona Cardinals… (Cheryl A. Guerrero/Staff…)

GLENDALE — While the fifth annual Stars Shooting for Hope celebrity basketball game was more about the cause it supported than the final on the scoreboard, it was clear to anyone watching in Hoover High’s packed gym that both sides wanted to win.

It resulted in the highest scoring game in the history of the annual fixture, which squares off Glendale Unified School District employees and local celebrities — from athletes to actors — to benefit the Desi Geestman Foundation, with the celebrity squad rallying from a 10-point, fourth-quarter deficit for a 78-75 overtime win.

PHOTOS: The fifth annual Stars Shooting for Hope celebrity basketball game

“We just wanted a close game and to have some entertainment out there,” said St. Louis Rams wide receiver Brandon Gibson, of the celebrity squad, who celebrated the win by dancing with the large crowd that stormed the court. “We’re glad it turned out the way that it did, and it’s for a good cause.”

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In the past five years, Stars Shooting for Hope has generated about $11,500 for the La Crescenta-based Geestman Foundation, a charity that strives to improve the lives of children suffering from cancer and their families.

Hoover teacher Edgar Melik-Stepanyan, who helped coordinate the event with help from Hoover and Toll Middle School, couldn’t help but repeat what he’d said in 2012.

“Every year it gets better and better,” he said. “It does… I am blown away, I’m amazed every single year by the fact that kids give back to other kids and kids want to serve. … I’m blessed, incredibly blessed.”

Not only was $3,500 generated Friday night – the most in the history of the event – but it also brought out the most people, said Hoover junior and ASB member Audria Amirian, who helped put it all together.

“This has been the biggest year we’ve ever had out of all of them,” she said. “I feel that everyone has come together, this is the biggest crowd we’ve ever had.”

While Gibson admitted it was the cause that brought him out to play in his first-ever appearance in the game, he wasn’t about to leave without a victory. He finished with 21 points and scored 11 of the Stars’ final 13 points with three minutes left in the fourth quarter.

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