This post was written by Hatchet staff writer Mark Eisenhauer.
Lawmakers and lobbyists traded the halls of Congress for the Smith Center hardwood Monday for the 16th Annual Congressional Charity Basketball Game.
The team of congressmen took down the lobbyists for the third consecutive year, winning Monday’s game 46-40. GW men’s basketball head coach Mike Longergan coached the lobbyists, while Catholic University men’s basketball head coach Steve Howes skippered the congressmen.
Notable congressional team members included House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., and Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz.
“Any time you can foul a lobbyist, you do it,” Flake joked, then added, “It’s always nice to get on the court with your colleagues and these lobbyists who we deal with in other settings.”
With 14 points, Congress’ top scorer was Rep. Curt Clawson, R-Fla., who captained the 1983-84 Big Ten Champions Purdue men’s basketball team and challenged President Barack Obama to a three-point contest earlier this year.
Seventy-eight-year-old Jim Martin, chairman of the 60 Plus Association, sunk one of the more exciting three pointers for the lobbyists, while Danny Leonard of The Leonard Group scored a team-high eight points.
The game had a cordial intensity and close score throughout, but the congressional team was able to maintain a lead for almost all 40 minutes, winning by six points.
“This is a fantastic opportunity to do something good,” said Rep. Tim Huelskamp, R-Kan. “We have a great time, and it most importantly helps kids in a tough situation.”
Paul Miller, chairman of the Hoops For Youth Foundation, said the charity was created 16 years ago “in a bi-partisan way to help raise money and awareness for at-risk kids living in our community.”
Lonergan was mostly light-hearted on the bench with his team, but with the score close near the end of the game, he showed some competitive fire, calling time outs and gesturing enthusiastically in the huddle. This was Lonergan’s third year coaching the lobbyists and his third loss as the team’s coach.
“I like to win, and the congressmen usually win, so I was hoping they would give me them this year,” Lonergan joked. “The congressmen are in better shape than our team – I think they have too much free time on their hands.”