Middle school rivalry is alive and well
By Josh Bootsma
LANSING, Ill. (December 20, 2018) – The gym at Memorial Junior High School was rocking on Monday afternoon as the Memorial Mustangs faced off against the Heritage Middle School Nationals in their annual crosstown basketball match-up.
Despite being the only two middle schools in Lansing and having a strong rivalry, Memorial and Heritage are in different districts and athletic conferences. Lansing police officer Wilson Pierce noticed animosity between students from the two middle schools while he served as a juvenile detective at TF South High School years ago.
“The rivalry got negative because Memorial kids never saw Heritage kids and Heritage kids never saw Memorial kids…and then you’re putting those same kids into one high school. They don’t really care for each other but they don’t know why,” explained Pierce, who started the HOME (Helping Our Minors Excel) foundation in 2008.
Pierce reached out to both middle schools in an effort to set up a healthy way for students to participate in the crosstown rivalry. For the last seven years, the Memorial vs. Heritage basketball games have done just that.
For the first two years, the game included only the boys teams, but for the last five, the event has featured both the boys and girls eighth grade teams. The Memorial girls have won all of their contests with Heritage while the Heritage boys have claimed two of their seven matchups with the Mustangs.
On Monday, both Memorial teams took home crosstown trophies. The girls won handily 47-19 while the boys secured a 49-33 victory.
Relive the action:
The rivalry between cheer squads took athletic forms:
Memorial Junior High School is located at 2721 Ridge Road.
Heritage Middle School is located at 19250 Burnham Ave.
To learn more about Officer Pierce and his foundation HOME, visit https://helpingourminorsexcel.org
Helping Our Minors Excel (February 2018 article)