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Mt. Pleasant Area hosts the Pittsburgh Steelers on hardwood

| Wednesday, April 3, 2013, 9:01 p.m.
John Poole | For The Mt. Pleasant Journal
Mt. Pleasant Area senior Taylor Allison drives for a layup as his varsity football teammates, senior Joey Paul (left) and junior Ryan Gumbita, look on during an exhibition game played last Tuesday, against members of the Pittsburgh Steelers at Mt. Pleasant Area Junior-Senior High School.
John Poole | For The Mt. Pleasant Journal
Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown (84) prepares to launch a jump shot during the exhibition game he and some of his teammates played against members of Mt. Pleasant Area, Greater Latrobe and Southmoreland football team members at the Mt. Pleasant Area Junior-Senior High School gymnasium.

Members of the Pittsburgh Steelers recently took to the hardwood in an exhibition basketball game against local high school football players at Mt. Pleasant Area Junior-Senior High School.

The event — sponsored by the Mt. Pleasant Area Junior Football League — pitted members of the local National Football League franchise against members of the Mt. Pleasant Area Vikings and Greater Latrobe Wildcats varsity football teams.

Proceeds from the game benefitted the junior football league's ongoing operations, said Rick Albright, the organization's president.

While the Steelers won the game, 113-43, members of the high school teams said they found the experience to be a valuable one.

“It was a great experience to play with them,” said Mt. Pleasant Area senior Taylor Allison. “(Steelers wide receiver) Antonio Brown stood out to me as a guy who really interacted with the fans and it is a high school memory that I will cherish.”

Vikings junior Ryan Gumbita said he would love to get another crack at the Steelers.

“I would love to see them come back, and (Steelers quarterback) Charlie Batch really did a good job cracking jokes and getting along with everyone,” Gumbita said.

Other Steelers on hand were defensive end Cameron Heyward, defensive backs Isaiah Green, Justin King, DeMarcus Van Dyke and Ross Ventrone, nose tackle Alameda Ta'amu and offensive guard Kelvin Beachum.

The Steelers displayed a variety of basketball skills, from draining three-pointers to throwing down slam dunks.

Heyward said he enjoys “hanging around with the community, and loving basketball and love showing support to my fans.”

Batch said he runs an annual basketball camp for local youths.

“Basketball is one of my favorite spots,” he said. “Also it's always nice to compete with Antonio (Brown) from behind the 3-point line, since we are all competitors.”

Brown said such events are help the team keep a connection with their legion of fans.

“(It's ) always a great time to give back, touch base with everyone and to show love for Steeler Nation,” he said.

John Poole is a freelance writer.

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