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The Barkley showcase features state champions, scholarships and supporting a hero amongst us, Deputy Kevin Shay

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Kevin Shay, left, was not going to end his law enforcement career until he worked side-by-side with his son, Rob. Despite pancreatic cancer, Shay worked, retired and continues to support the Barkley Showcase. The 50/50 from the two-day event will be donated in his name to pancan.org

By JOHN ANDERSON

The Dan Barkley Showcase tips off tonight and Saturday in Bath with so many top teams in the state, it’s become the Showcase Showdown.

Last season, the Wellsville and Hornell girls were among the last teams standing for a Section V title. This year, they are among the three favorites to win a title this year. That game tips off at 6:15 p.m.

Then there is the boys game at 8 p.m. between Wellsville and Hornell. If the rivalry wasn’t enough, they are ranked #1 and #2 in the Section V seedings. When the Barkley Showcase debuted in Wellsville nine years ago, the crowd was so big, the fans were asked to leave if they were not from Wellsville or Hornell.

No one left.

Moments later, a Hornell spectator bus arrived and fans were lined up against the walls under both baskets and shoulder-to-shoulder with cheerleaders. It was after that first year the game moved to larger venues like Alfred University and Alfred State. Tonight it is in the spacious Haverling High gym in Bath.

On Saturday, the day features state-ranked girls and boys teams and the defending New York State Champions from Avoca/Prattsburgh, separate schools unified under sports. the girls from Andover/Whitesville did the same last year and captured a Section V title. They will take on undefeated state-ranked Canisteo-Greenwood at 2 p.m.

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The games are played in honor of the late Dan Barkley, an Allegany County Sheriff’s Deputy who died on July 14, 2013 of a heart attack while working at the jail. Barkley loved high school basketball in the region and thanks to Dana Hand of the sheriff’s department and the countless volunteers from law enforcement in two counties, the tournament has been the best around.

The games have been so close that in the six years the tournament has been played, Allegany and Steuben counties have split the series, 3-3.

The other winners are the student-athletes from both counties, as the tournament has raised money for scholarships. Even with COVID wiping out two years, the sponsors never wavered, the deputies supported the cause and the scholarships continued.

This year, the tournament has another special meaning — recently retired Allegany County Sheriff Deputy Kevin Shay.

The next time you see Kevin Shay without a smile on his face will be the first time. He supported the Barkley Showcase and his former colleague for years. Shay was a top cop for 30 years and was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.

Two years ago, the diagnosis was one year. They didn’t know Kevin Shay or the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network. Through clinical trials, Kevin is still fighting and still volunteering his time. Instead of chasing inmates he chases grandchildren.

Tonight and Saturday, the 50/50 raffle money will go toward the Pan Can Action Network (pancan.org) and the treatments that have helped Kevin. Pan Can officials said, “In the fight against pancreatic cancer, clinical trials often provide the best treatment options, and they give patients early access to cutting-edge treatments that can lead to progress in research, improved treatment options and better outcomes.”

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There will be other surprise recognitions and honors during the weekend as well.

“Kevin is going into his second year fighting pancreatic cancer which doesn’t have a cure, but we want to bring awareness through this organization and help them get funding and potential legislation,” Hand said.

In addition to the sponsors, Peish TV on YouTube and Facebook and the My Team Media Network will be streaming games. Both media organizations are donating a portion of their advertising proceeds to the scholarships for the children. The Wellsville Sun and the Hornell Sun are also continued sponsors of the event.

See a list of sponsors on this poster:

After the three girls’ games at noon, 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. on Saturday, get ready for a potential track meet when Fillmore and Avoca/Prattsburgh boys tip off at 6 p.m.

Last season, undefeated A/P went to Fillmore and the host Eagles tried to run with A/P in an exciting game that looked like 200 points would be scored. This season, A/P has lost two games to York and Lyons and Fillmore has played much better in recent weeks.

You can’t fault Fillmore for the slow start, the team was getting off the bus from winning a New York State championship in soccer when most schools were ending basketball practice. The game is a matchup between two defending state champions in two sports.

The final game at 8 p.m. will be another one expected to go down to the wire, as Bath will play Bolivar-Richburg at 8 p.m.

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