Mesa Community College hosted the second annual, “Laws vs. Claws” basketball game Friday night to help raise money for Arizona Law Enforcement Outreach and Support.
AZ LEOS works to bring law enforcement and the community closer together by providing programs such as Shop with a Cop, Hoop-in it Up with Kids, and Book-’em.
After the success of last years’ game, it was an easy decision to bring it back in an effort to make it an annual event held at Theo J. Heap gymnasium.
MCC welcomed a new head coach for the men’s basketball team Lester Neal this semester, and he was on board from the very beginning to bring back the “Laws vs. Claws” game.
“I had learned about the game when they first hired me,” said Neal, “It was about six weeks ago where we started to put things in motion to make sure we would be bringing it back this year.”
The two teams are composed of MCC alumni on one side representing the “Claws”, and police officers and first responders on the other representing the “Laws”.
“It is my responsibility, as the head coach, to reach out to the alumni to get them more involved. I went to a JC in Ventura, California where our alumni kept in contact for 30 plus years, that bond was really like a brotherhood. I want to create that same thing here at MCC,” said Neal.
The Mesa Police Department was quick to accept the proposal to put together the friendly competition once again.
“MCC does a great job of organizing everything and giving us everything we need to play. We really just show up and play, which is a no brainer for us,” said Officer Kenny Whitis.
The Mesa Police Department views this as an opportunity to not only raise funds for the community by putting the money raised towards the AZ LEOS program, but also as a way to connect with the community.
“MCC and the Mesa PD, it’s really a no brainer for us to come together. The campus police also helped facilitate the relationship, so it just works great for everyone,” said Whitis.
It feels as though a tradition is being born right in front of our eyes, as a trophy was also created for the winning team to keep for a year until the next game is played.
The event has also grown to include sponsors, including The Buffalo Spot and Fruitlandia.
The intention is to make each new addition to the history of “Laws vs. Claws” even better than the last.
There is no official stat keeping done for the game yet, however the hope is to begin keeping track of statistics as games continue to be played. The current format consists of two twenty minute halves, operating with a running clock.
This also did not stop the game from entertaining those in attendance.
The Claws were able to get out to an early lead as Asaad Woods, who played at MCC for the 2011-2012 season, knocked down plenty of early threes.
The Laws was kept afloat by an equally impressive first half from Whiting, who knocked down multiple three pointers himself to lead his team.
The Claws took a 45-28 lead to halftime, and the Laws looked to be in a bit of trouble if they were unable to turn things around.
However, turning things around is exactly what the Laws found themselves doing.
They were able to cut the deficit to as little as six late in the second half, but the Claws were able to pull away late and get the victory by double digits.