NORFOLK — The Norfolk Noon Optimists strive to bring out the best in youth, the community and themselves… but maybe not the best basketball.
The non-profit hosted Huskers vs. Hometown Heroes Friday night at the Panther gym. Seniors from the Nebraska football team including Sam Cotton, Nate Gerry and Brandon Reilly competed against a list of Norfolk heroes including teachers, coaches, first responders and military members.
Cotton says that the while fans look up to Husker players, the players themselves look up to the hometown heroes.
“Even though the Nebraska football team has a lot of pull and a lot of guys in the spotlight, it’s guys like these that should be in the spotlight,” Cotton said. “So an event like this is good to show it.”
The Huskers jumped out to an early lead behind strong performances by Brad Simpson and Cotton. But the Heroes charged back, led by quality post play from Mayor Josh Moenning, the outside shot of Norfolk High Girls Basketball Coach Jared Oswald and the help of some guest free throw shooters. The Huskers held on to win 66-63.
But Noon Optimists President Mark Claussen says the night wasn’t about the final score.
“I’d say a lot of fun, that’s what it’s about – a good family evening,” Claussen said.
The Noon Optimists support efforts like youth scholarships, Cool to be in School and Operation Christmas Tree.