It was a special night at Christian Liberty Academy in Arlington Heights.
The private school, which used to be the old Arlington High School, draws students from towns as far as Chicago, Elgin and Crystal Lake.
Tuesday night, it drew a lot of visitors from the northwest suburbs and elsewhere in a benefit for longtime official Bill Spicer, who is battling a rare form of leukemia.
Spicer stays involved with the Arlington Heights Youth Athletic Association, which he has guided as its president since 1989, and with the Prospect Performing Arts Endowment, which he helped to form after his three children graduated from Prospect High School.
More than $41,000 from admission, concessions, donations and raffles was raised in support of Spicer as the Chargers hosted a junior high boys basketball game and varsity girls and boys contests against Harvest Christian of Elgin.
The Chargers’ girls varsity team received 16 points, 14 rebounds and 10 blocked shots from junior center Shelbi Hernandez in a 44-27 Northeastern Athletic Conference victory.
“I remember Shelbi’s freshman year he (Spicer) observed the more we fed Shelbi the ball in the post, with her soft touch and accurate shot, the better our team would do,” said Chargers assistant coach Colleen Sullivan after watching Hernandez produce the second triple-double of her career.
Spicer has been officiating Hernandez’s games since the sixth grade at CLA.
“It was so encouraging to see all these people come out in support of Mr. Spicer,” said Hernandez, who makes the trip to school from Chicago each day with her mother, who is a school librarian. “It really warms my heart to see how many people have been affected by him and how he has affected me.
“He is one of the fairest refs you’ll find. It was so wonderful to see everyone come out in support in his time of need.”
Among the many friends and family in the crowd was Hersey High School Assistant Principal for Student Activities John Novak, who helped film the event.
“I’ve known Bill and his wife Kathy (assistant to the Orchesis Director at Prospect High School) for a long time,” Novak said. “Anybody who devotes that many years to the community ... what an awesome thing.”
Chargers athletic director and girls basketball coach and Steve Rowland was thrilled his school could host the event.
“What a great cause,’ he said. “Bill means a lot to a lot of people. We are so happy to be able to host this, It couldn’t be for a better man. He has great heart and character.”
Rowland’s girls team improved to 12-4 and 4-1 in the NAC while Christian Harvest is 2-16 and 1-4.
Sophomore Jess Moriarty hit two 3-pointers in the first three minutes to help stake the Chargers to an 8-2 lead.
Kylee Knox (team-high 11 points) tossed in a 3-pointer and Carol Kauffman (6 points) hit a 15-footer to get the Lions to within 12-7 after one quarter.
But CLA took control by starting the second quarter with a 9-2 run, that included Moriarty’s third 3-pointer. She finished with four and a game-high 18 points.
Junior Meg Sullivan, who capped the first-half scoring with a 3-pointer in the final minute, added 8 points for CLA. The only other Charger to score was freshman Samantha Amedin, who had a layup in the second quarter.
Junior Vivian Barclay is nursing a sprained ankle but it hardly affected her voice. She and her triplets Natalie and Teddi kicked off the game with a fine rendition of the national anthem.
“They’re (CLA) a good team,” said Lions coach Kelly Friestad. “They’ve got a couple of good shooters and we let them get off too many shots.
“We struggled a little offensively. We did a little better in the second half moving the ball and seeing the court on offense. We just need to finish the shots. We’ve got to keep working at it.”Copyright © 2013 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.