Granny Basketball League tips off against Missouri State Highway Patrol

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COLUMBIA - If experience is important for success in sports, basketball players worldwide have much to learn from the Granny Basketball League.

On Saturday, the league (consisting of 28 teams throughout the Midwest, including 3 from Missouri) came together for a Granny Basketball game against the Missouri State Highway Patrol at Smithton Middle School.

All proceeds from the event went directly to 'Child Care Aware for Missouri,' which organizers said was "around $4,000." The event also included a silent auction and a raffle for hundreds in cash, which a trooper won and immediately donated towards the game's cause.

It was the second game of Granny Basketball played between the two organizations. In the previous and inaugural against the highway patrol, the Granny Basketball League won.

Capt. Roger Whittler, the director of the Career Recruitment Division at the Missouri State Highway Patrol, said his team looked forward to the grudge match.

"We've got a couple people that we feel are going to be more instrumental this time as compared to last time. Those folks are prepared to give them a good match," Whittler said. "Hopefully we'll come out on top for the first time."

Whittler said troopers were unprepared for the Granny Basketball League's unique rules, including no jumping or running, only two dribbles allowed for each player per possession and all underhand shots -- commonly-known as "granny shots" resulting in 3 points.

The highway patrol also plays with a few restrictions, including only being allowed to use their non-dominant hand while their dominant hand is covered with an oven mitt.

Whittler also said while the highway patrol looked forward to redemption, the troopers' participation went beyond wins or losses.

"Child Care Aware [of Missouri] invited us to play Granny Basketball in their league, and we see it as an outstanding opportunity to engage with the community - to show that troopers are actually members of the community and that we enjoy interacting with the community on a regular basis," Whittler said.

The Missouri State Highway Patrol did what it couldn't do in the last game against the grannies: win. The final score of 28-24 tied the series up at 1-1. Players on both teams said they're looking forward to the next game, which determines the leading-team in the series.

"I'd really like to thank the highway patrol (they're super good sports about this), I want to thank the grannies who have been willing to come out and raise money for children, and I want to thank the staff of Child Care Aware [of Missouri] for everything they've done," Carter said.

To see Granny Basketball in action, click here for the Granny Basketball League calendar.

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