Fort Myers-Bishop Verot hoops rivalry renewed after six years at City of Palms

Author: Zach Oliveri
Published: Updated:

Two rival high school basketball teams in Lee County reunited in a major way Wednesday night. Fort Myers and Bishop Verot faced off on the hardwood for the first time in six years.

“Watching as a kid everything was such so special” Fort Myers senior center Tommy Halgrim said. “The fact I get to play in it is a big privilege.”

The matchup was the Hugh Thimlar Tribute game at the City of Palms Classic. The Green Wave and Vikings played in the first tournament game 50 years ago. For both sides, it felt good to see each other again.

“It means a lot to people in Fort Myers you know,” Bishop Verot basketball head coach Matt Herting said. “Both schools been around a long time. A lot of kids grow up together playing together. Then going to different high schools. Now we get to play against each other.”

“I’ve gotten more texts and calls and emails about Coach you got to win you got to win,” Fort Myers basketball head coach Keith Jones said.

The game had a postseason atmosphere with the Fort Myers band on hand and a packed Verot student section. There’s a lot of familiarity on both sides, especially for Leroy Roker. He played for the Fort Myers Green Wave as a freshman. Now, he’s with the Bishop Verot Vikings. Roker played hours after signing his letter of intent to play football at Ohio State.

Bishop Verot beat Fort Myers 58-39.

Before the latest chapter in the local rivalry was written, annual tournament traditions were renewed. A field of shooters from participating teams took aim from distance in the three-point contest. Paul the Sixth guard Darren Harris is going home with the trophy.

In the dunk contest, Jaxon Richardson from Columbus High School in Miami put on a show. First, he dunked over a teammate as well as former NBA player and contest judge Jason Richardson. Jaxon pulled it off while wearing Jason’s Golden State jersey.

But Isaiah Abraham from Paul the Sixth went toe to toe with Richardson. The two went into a dunk off to decide the winner. Richardson would secure the win after a judge’s decision.

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