First Clark Noonan Memorial basketball tourney: A success beyond basketball, fundraising

When Luke Hettermann organized the first Noonan-Nation Basketball Tournament in early June, little did he know how many people would respond to his idea of honoring his late teammate and friend, Clark Noonan, the former Bangor High and St. Joseph’s College basketball player who died tragically in an automobile accident in April.
Hettermann was a junior point guard on that 2009-2010 Bangor High team on which Noonan was a senior and the starting center. They were close friends and Hetterman organized the tourney to honor Noonan, but had no idea how big and successful the endeavor would be.
Made up mostly of college-age players from around the state who were Clark’s former teammates or opponents, 24 teams were formed from approximately 250 players to help honor Clark’s memory. They volunteered their time to raise money for a possible basketball scholarship at Bangor High in Clark’s memory.
During the last weekend of June a total of 46 games were played in the double-elimination tourney at UMaine’s recreation center in Orono. Six games were played Friday, 24 Saturday and 16 on Sunday.
The $3,700 raised was through the generosity of 21 sponsors, team donations, individual donations, admission charges and the sale of Noonan Nation T-shirts.
The funds will be turned over to the the Bangor High School Boosters Club with the hope that the tourney becomes an annual event to support a yearly Clark Noonan scholarship at Bangor High.
This event was covered by all-volunteer help, from Luke’s family and friends and Clark’s friends who took tickets, handled donations, sold T-shirts, and kept time and score. Thirty basketball officials from IAABO Eastern Maine Board 111 also volunteered to do the games.
These officials, under the leadership of Board 111 President Shawn Kimball, sent out e-mails to all active members and received the subsequent help as 28 games were covered by three-person crews and 18 games were covered by two-person crews.Kimball assigned all of these games.
The Queen City team, considered one of the top men’s league team in the Greater Bangor area, went 6-0 to win the tourney, but it did not come easily. They defeated the Beautiful People, a team made up of teammates of Clark’s 2009-10 Bangor team. They all played their hearts out in memory of Clark and how he played the game: all out hustle on every play.
The Beautiful People were paced by Tristan Thomas, Zac Blodgett, Hettermann, Sean McIntosh, Josiah Hartley, and Pat Stewart. They had to fight back from the losers bracket on Sunday after going 2-1 in the winners bracket, defeating the BOYZ on Friday evening, beating the Swag 6 on Saturday and then losing to Queen City on Sunday.
Then they had to win three games in a row on Sunday by getting by the A Team made up of former Camden Hill Stars, Graham Safford, Keegan Pieri, and Tyler McFarland. Next they beat the Tough End team and then beat by one point a team made up of Clark’s St. Joseph College teammates in the final game of the losers bracket.
Finally, playing their fourth game in a row and their fifth game on Sunday, they took an early 13- point lead against Queen City, but ran out of gas late in the second half as Queen City took over and won going away by 12 points.
Queen City was led by former college players such as Phil White (Husson) Joe Campbell of Bangor (UMaine), Dom Drake of Brewer (Maine Maritime Academy) and former Bangor High star Duane Peoples.
The St. Joseph’s College team won four games in a row in the winners bracket before losing to Queen City in the finals of the winners bracket by one point and then to the Beautiful People. They put on a great show in honoring their fallen teammate.
Queen City won six in a row by beating the Express on Friday night, Southern Maine on Saturday and the Swagger Hounds, the Beautiful People twice and the Old Man’s Squad to win the tourney, which featured some outstanding close games along with great individual and team performances.
Many outstanding players made this an exciting and fun event for a great cause.
Hettermann stated it best in the program with the following quote: “Thank you all again for being a part of the 1st Noonan Nation Tournament. The proceeds of this tournament will be given to the Bangor High School Boosters Club in Clark Noonan’s name and in hopes of creating a scholarship. It’s been almost three months since Clark’s death and even though the time hasn’t made losing such a good friend any easier, a tournament like this with Clark’s friends, teammates and opponents all playing with and against one another reminds us all of what an impact he had on so many people. A special thanks goes to all the general sponsors, volunteers, and those who traveled so far to be here. Clark will be remembered forever and we all can play this weekend in his honor.”
Well said Luke and thank you for having such great feelings for your teammate and friend, involving all of us with this great idea of holding this event to honor and remember Clark as a good friend, person and basketball player.
This event was so successful that hopefully it will become an annual event. The annual scholarship in Clark’s name would go to someone who best exemplifies what he stood for as a friend, person, basketball player and human being.
We all miss him very much.