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Guido: Riverview grad giving back in 'Bama

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Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

By George Guido
Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

As a child in Oakmont, 2002 Riverview graduate Dimitri Facaros grew up in a houseful of brothers.

Now, as U.S. Army captain, the former Raiders student-athlete is a brother of a different sort.

Facaros, a chief of military justice for the Staff Judge Advocate's office at Redstone Arsenal in Alabama, recently was cited by the base's newspaper for his work in the Big Brothers/Big Sisters program.

Since early this year, Facaros has been a Big Brother to a third-grader named Caleb.

“It's all about giving back,” Facaros told the Redstone Rocket. “I grew up in a family of four brothers, and I had a very large and extended family.”

Dimitri, 29, and his brothers, Theo, Zach and Sid, were student-athletes at Riverview.

Facros recently participated in a bowling fundraiser for Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Northern Alabama. The Big Brother program specializes in adult friends whom children can count on for support, advice and friendship.

“I have the kind of time and feel that I can use it to give back to the community,” Facaros said.

Facaros told the Rocket that he probably will be transferred from Redstone next summer but hopes to keep in touch with Caleb after his move.

Redstone Arsenal is located near Huntsville, Ala. The base is perhaps best known for developing the Saturn rocket for NASA back in the 1960s.

Midland returns

Lincoln Park has come up with a cool idea.

Next week for the C.J. Betters Holiday Classic, the Lincoln Park Leopards will wear uniforms and warm-up gear replicating the former Midland High School Leopards from the 1964-65 PIAA championship team.

Lincoln Park will be playing Steelton-Highspire, the same team Midland defeated for the 1965 state title at Harrisburg Farm Show Arena.

The game will take place Dec. 27 at Community College of Beaver County.

Midland was 28-0 that season. The team included Simmie Hill and Norm Van Lier, both of whom played in the pros.

What has kept that Midland team popular in folklore for nearly a half century is that many people saw the team.

A number of the WPIAL playoff games and the PIAA title game were televised live.

WQED Channel 13 carried WPIAL playoff games live from the Civic Arena.

WPIAL basketball popularity was at its peak, and many players were household names. There was little college basketball on TV at the time, and NBA games were merely a Sunday afternoon staple.

Before the balconies were built at Civic Arena, it was common for high school games to draw 10,000 to 12,000 fans, despite live TV.

Midland played in the highest enrollment classification at the time and routinely defeated schools with three or four times its enrollment.

Midland later dropped in classification and closed in 1987. Now Lincoln Park uses the historic Midland gymnasium for its home games. The gym has a distinctive, old-time feel with the wooden seats in the balcony hooked together, similar to Forbes Field.

Reading nears 2,000

Reading is poised to become the first high school in the state to reach 2,000 boys basketball victories.

The state's largest high school, Reading tried for No. 2,000 last Friday against Chester but lost 70-63. Despite their status as the state's winningest basketball program, the Red Knights never have won a PIAA title.

George Guido is a Valley News Dispatch scholastic sports correspondent. His column appears Wednesdays.

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