Reserve, Guard members kick off 2011-12 Alaska hoops season

Wednesday, October 19, 2011 - 20:00

The Alaska Quake basketball season will open Dec. 3 and two members of the Air Force Reserve and Army National Guard can be seen on the roster of Alaska's newest semi-professional basketball team.

Master Sgt. Jonathon Orzechowski, an Air Force Reservist with the 477th Civil Engineer Squadron and SGT Joey Lewis with the Army National Guard' s E Company, 1-207th Aviation, were added to the roster when the team held its try-outs in late August and were on hand at the team's meet and greet Oct. 8 at Begich Middle School in Anchorage.

"Our team is made up of all players from Alaska," said Sergeant Orzechowski. "So it is great to be able to play games for the local crowd and give back to the community."

Orzechowski played basketball at Anchorage Christian Schools where he attended high school and is excited to be a part the team.

"It's great to play ball again," said Orzechowski. "The meet and greet was a great opportunity for the whole team to get together with the support of our family and friends and kick-off a great first season."

The Alaska Quake, an American Basketball Association franchise team, became a reality when Shana Harris a member of the Alaska Air National Guard, her husband Robert Harris, a member of the Alaska Army National Guard along with Carol and Gabriell Taylor, also members of the Alaska Air National Guard decided to start the team as a non-profit organization to help mentor children through sports and dance.

"The ultimate goal for our non-profit is to provide children with other options that keep them off the street," said Shana Harris, Alaska Quake Chief Executive Officer. "Not only were we looking for great dancers and great players on the court, we were looking for men and women that could be positive role models to children."

Harris anticipates that the first free basketball and dance camps will be held next summer funded by the proceeds from this season's 14 games. In the mean time they are collecting slightly used children's winter coats through Oct. 16 for the Alaska Quake Coats for Kids Campaign.

The team's first game will be Dec. 3 against the Seattle Mountaineers at Begich Middle School and they are anticipating some NBA players to suit up with the Mountaineers due to the NBA league lockout.

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