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Wednesday, May 18, 2022

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BLAZES AND PURSUITS: Henrico Fire takes on Henrico Police at Robins Stadium

<p>The Henrico County Division of Fire and the Henrico County Police Division pose for a picture after facing off at the Robins Stadium on Jan. 14.</p>

The Henrico County Division of Fire and the Henrico County Police Division pose for a picture after facing off at the Robins Stadium on Jan. 14.

The Henrico County Division of Fire defeated the Henrico County Police Division on the basketball court at Robins Center in the “Guns & Hoses” event on Jan. 14. 

With over 250 tickets sold, family, friends and coworkers gathered to see HPD and HFD take the rivalry to the Robins Center in a fight-fire-with-fire basketball match.

The HPD team was led by police Chief Eric English and Sgt. Damon Allen. The HFD team was led by career firefighters Steven “Kee” Johnson and Kathy Palmer. 

“It was about the fellowship, the people being out here having a good time not worried about the world’s problems,” Palmer said.

English is a University of Richmond alumnus and played for the Spiders men's basketball team from 1985-1989. He played in the NCAA Sweet 16 Tournament of 1988. 

“You know, I’ve been back here many times since then. But it feels great, it’s a lot different than 1988 that's for sure,” English said when asked how it felt to be back on the court. “It’s gonna be fun. This is what it’s all about, just having a good time.”

The first half started with HPD winning the tipoff, but it was short-lived when the ball went out of bounds and was handed over to HFD. The firefighters started their run with firefighter Derrick Mitchell securing a rebound and scoring a layup, giving fire the lead 2-0. 

HPD was quick to respond with a fast break into a layup by Officer Joseph Vissichelli to tie the game. 

HFD started their six-point rally with firefighter Torin Holmes sinking an all-net three-pointer, followed by a layup, bringing the score to 7-2. Fire continued their streak with a layup and a jumper by Mitchell, bringing the score to 11-2. HPD responded with a layup of their own by Officer Zack Youngman and a free throw. 

The fire department would add back-to-back three-pointers from firefighters Christopher Mallory and Jermaine Coston, bringing the score to 18-5. 

The police began to close the gap with Officer Thomas Broaddus scoring back-to-back layups, but Mallory shot and swished his second three-pointer of the game, ending the police’s short run with the score of 21-6.

With 2:23 on the clock and HFD in possession, Mitchell swished a three-pointer, bringing the score to 26-9.  At 1:21 and following a layup from PD, Mitchell added a layup of his own. Youngman was quick behind with a three-pointer, and with 13 seconds on the clock, Holmes went two-for-two with free throws, ending the first half with a score of 32-14.

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In the second half, police came out strong with back-to-back three-pointers by Vissichelli, which helped close the gap to 32-20. 

Both teams played a stronger offense compared to the first half. With 18:27 on the clock, the firefighters had a fast break and layup, and police followed behind with a jump shot. Police and fire would continue the back-and-forth exchange of points until the five-minute mark, with firefighter Tyrice Safewright having three consecutive fast breaks totaling four points — and a score of 53-32. 

Officer Chris Basic and Coston exchanged back-to-back three-pointers. With 1:35 on the clock, Mitchell scored HFD’s last points with a jumpshot and Basic with HPD’s last points with a layup, leaving 13 seconds on the clock.

The rivalry ended with Henrico Fire winning 58-38. 

“It’s about the fun of it. Seeing the guys go out there playing and not trying to hurt anybody,” Johnson said. “Just have a good time doing what we do.”

Contact sports co-editor Andrew Cardounel at andrew.cardounel@richmond.edu.

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