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A night to remember
Central Valley and Ceres High staged a benefit basketball game for the Reynolds family on May 28. One-year-old Kase Reynolds was diagnosed with a rare chromosome disorder last year. - photo by Contributed to the Courier

Mike Reynolds had a clear pathway to the basket.

Slowed by a groin injury, Reynolds opted to shoot a 3-pointer instead.

Mike connected from long range, lifting Central Valley to a one-point victory over Ceres High during a benefit hoops contest this past month.

"It was more than a basketball game for me," he said. "I played for my son."

The contest, which pitted Central Valley versus Ceres High staff, raised more than $40,000 for the Reynolds family.

Mike's son Kase was diagnosed with chromosome 5q14.3 deletion syndrome, a neurocognitive disorder characterized by epilepsy and intellectual disability, at the age of four months. He celebrated his first birthday on May 22.

"Nothing's changed," Reynolds said. "It's been tough. We still got doctor's appointments. That's what it will be like for his whole life."

More than 2,000 members of the community attended the "Hoops For Hope: Kase's Game" fundraiser event at Central Valley High School on May 28.

"It was crazy to see that many people there," Mike said. "It's one of the coolest things I have been a part of. It's hard to believe it was for us. I'm glad to be part of a community that does stuff like that."

Ceres Unified School District teachers/sisters Angela Durossette (Ceres High) and Veronica Giddens Villa (Central Valley) helped organize the fundraiser.

Mike, a special-education teacher at Central Valley, also coaches the Hawks' track and field and cross country teams.

His wife Katharine was employed by CUSD for seven years as a dance teacher prior to taking time off to take care of Kase. She taught at Cesar Chavez Jr. High and Central Valley.

They also have a three-and-a-half-year-old daughter (Kylie).

"Obviously, if a family is in need in our community, we'll do whatever it takes to help," said Angela, who served as the Ceres Relay for Life Committee Chairperson in April. "Mike and Katharine are such amazing people."

Cancer survivor/2005 Ceres High grad Brittany Randle presented the Hoops For Hope perpetual trophy to Mike and his loved ones.

The Reynolds and Randle families have known each other for years.

Mike, Angela and Veronica played in a fundraiser basketball game for Brittany.

The 2014 benefit contest was just as memorable as it was staged in front of a near-capacity crowd.

"I got goose bumps when I walked into the gym," Angela said. "It's pretty cool what happened that night. It was amazing. I'm still grinning."

"It was definitely cool to have the support of the students," Mike said. "It was a fun game. It was competitive. This whole thing has taught us how to take care of other people."