ST. LOUIS • While the NCAA regional game was ending a block away, the players up on the fifth floor of the Missouri Athletic Club were still scoring points at a basketball game that could only be a win-win for everyone — especially the people of Joplin, Mo.
The two teams not only racked up thousands of points, but they played their hearts out to make two big goals: breaking a Guinness world record and raising more than $100,000 to help the people of Joplin.
At 7 p.m. Sunday, with buzzers sounding, came the announcement that the two dozen basketball players (two from Joplin, three from the MAC and the rest St. Louis businessmen) had beaten the world record by playing for 110 hours over five days, beating the previous official 107-hour record. The players, ranging in age from early twenties through late sixties, hugged and cheered, knowing the money would help people who had suffered through one of the worst tornadoes in U.S. history. Steve Pona of St. Louis, who organized the game with Chuck Williams of Wildwood, said knowing they were helping Joplin inspired the players. "This is a town that was devastated — 7,500 homes, 550 businesses and the deaths of 162 people."
The two teams, Team Joplin and Team St. Louis, played until 9 p.m. — 112 hours and two minutes. Team Joplin won 11,806 to 11,620. Leading Team Joplin were Jeff Hafer with more than 3,000 points and Jake Williams, with over 2,000. Donations are being accepted at worldrecordbasketballgame.com.