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Middle School Matchup
by Tribune Staff
Feb 13, 2013 | 3673 views | 0 0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Tribune photo by Garrett Valenzuela -- Bradley Jordan surveys the floor for his Dilworth MS boys basketball team in Monday's Principal's Trophy game at Sparks High School.
Tribune photo by Garrett Valenzuela -- Bradley Jordan surveys the floor for his Dilworth MS boys basketball team in Monday's Principal's Trophy game at Sparks High School.
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SPARKS — In the spirit of college basketball’s Rivalry Week two Sparks middle schools took to a neutral court Monday evening in the ninth annual Rail City Shootout. The two contests pitted the boys 8th grade 'A' and 'B' teams from Dilworth STEM Academy against their counterparts from Sparks Middle School.

The annual two-game spectacle has become a proud tradition among the west Sparks middle schools, allowing young hoopsters a chance to play in Sparks High's 'Brickhouse’ in front of friends, family and much of the high school student body.

Greg Shugar, Sparks High registrar and event organizer, said students in their senior year at Sparks High can still “remember the game like it was yesterday,” providing proof of the event's evolution throughout its near decade existence.

“When it first started, nobody really knew what was going on,” Shugar said Wednesday afternoon. “Now the middle school students anticipate it and the eighth graders really look forward to it each year. We always seem to have some really good games every year as well.”

This year’s game featured the first-ever Rail City Shootout trophy. That stemms from a long-time friendly rivalry between Shugar and Sparks High Athletic Director Rob Kittrell, who attended Dilworth and Sparks Middle, respectively. Shugar said being able to issue a trophy is a testament to how far the game has come and it adds another prize for the incoming freshman to battle over.

“That was probably the best crowd we have had in the nine years and definitely the loudest of them all,” Shugar said. “Anything we can do to get these kids more time on the court, and help them see that Sparks High has all these things going on and is a great place to be, are goos things. Our hope is that those students will be the same students in the stands cheering next year and becoming involved at Sparks High.”
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