Everything, Brian Donoghue said, has been appreciated. From donations to simple phone calls, the King’s women’s basketball coach has received support from all around the area in his fight against brain cancer.
“I’m just thankful for everybody who’s asked (about me) or been involved,” Donoghue said. “There’s lots of different ways to be involved in this process. Whether it’s being physically involved with being in our gym or just a call and ‘How are you?’ to check in. Thank you for those.
“Just thankful for all the people and all the effort that has been made. It’s been a wide range.”
That effort has been spearheaded by the King’s College community, particularly in the athletic department, which will be holding an all-day fundraiser for Donoghue on Saturday.
Monarchs men’s basketball coach J.P. Andrejko has been helping organize the event, which begins with the “Play for Gray” basketball doubleheader against DeSales. The women tip off at 1 p.m. at Scandlon Gymnasium with the men’s game to follow at 3 p.m. The Monarchs will also be holding a men’s alumni game at 10 a.m.
Afterward, the event will continue at nearby Uptown II on North River Street in Wilkes-Barre beginning at 5 p.m. and lasting into the night. There will be a $10 cover charge with a cash bar and appetizers provided.
Proceeds from the day — from T-shirt and candy sales at the games to the cover charge and tips afterward — will go directly to Donoghue and his family.
“If people are available and they’re around and they can stop in, we’d love to have them,” Andrejko said. “We’re going to be doing things at the game for Brian and his family. He’s just a great guy with a super family that’s going through a really hard time.
“The King’s community has just come together unbelievably. The amount of response that I’ve had from the alumni, the faculty, the staff. People that are going to be there, people that are sending in donations, it’s really been impressive to see that happen.”
Donoghue, who was diagnosed over the summer, is in his ninth season coaching the Lady Monarchs, reaching the Sweet 16 in the 2011-12 season.
His wife, Andrea, and three young children — Patrick (5), Mackenzie (3) and Liam (1) — are fixtures at Scandlon for games.
Local businesses and area sports teams such as the Penguins and RailRiders have also contributed items that will be raffled off throughout the day.
The school will also be accepting donations at both locations. More information can be found at kingscollegeathletics.com.
King’s has held similar fundraisers since the fall, but Saturday’s is the largest yet.
“This has been the one that has really gotten the whole campus community involved,” King’s athletic director Cheryl Ish said. “Donations are coming in and we know people will be there for the benefit, which is great.
“It’s been an outpouring of support. And it’s wonderful.”
At the halfway mark of the Freedom Conference schedule, the Cougars find themselves in first place after sweeping all five league games in January.
Misericordia is tied with Delaware Valley at 5-2 in conference play after the first pass through the schedule. The Cougars beat the Aggies last Saturday in Dallas.
Most encouraging for the Cougars is that they went 3-1 on the road in the first half — losing only at Wilkes in overtime back in December — and will play four of the final seven at the Anderson Center.
“For us to now have three in our pocket, for someone to come and match our wins and losses, they’ve got to come here and win,” coach Trevor Woodruff said. “And that’s tough to do.”
The Colonels secured a crucial win on Wednesday, surviving a late rally to beat Eastern 72-71 at the Marts Center. Wilkes had dropped five straight Freedom Conference games before beating the Eagles.
Two sophomores have played a big role in leading the Colonels so far. Guard Alec Wizar and swingman Steve Stravinski (Pittston Area) have both had their moments.
Wizar is the team’s leading scorer thus far and hit seven threes against Eastern for a game-high 25 points. He was on the floor for 38 minutes.
Stravinski (10.1 ppg, 5.0 rpg) earned high praise from coach Jerry Rickrode earlier this month because of his work ethic.
“I’d play Steve Stravinski every minute if I could,” Rickrode said. “Just because of what he does out there, man. You know? Kid was on the jayvees last year.
“Now he’s leading us pretty much every game in rebounding, steals. He comes up with loose balls. Makes shots. Has a love for the game.”
Headed into the final month of the regular season, the Penn State Wilkes-Barre men and the Penn State Hazleton women lead their respective divisions in PSUAC play.
The Wilkes-Barre men are 8-2 in the league with guard Keith Johnson heating up. Johnson has averaged 19.3 points in the seven games since returning from semester break, including 25 on Monday in a win over PSU Hazleton.