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Players Give Peace a Chance

Weston basketball players shot free throws for a good cause Monday. Four girls and four boys waged a friendly competition to benefit Full Court Peace, an organization started by former Weston basketball player Michael Evans. Money raised in Free Throws for Juarez will help the non-profit group use basketball as a means of diplomacy.

Evans' initial focus is on Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. The city borders El Paso, Tex., and Evans says there have been 15,000 deaths in gang-related violence since 2006. FCP is partnering with local organizations in Juarez to recruit young people for after-school basketball clubs to try to prevent them from becoming victims of violence.

The girls team of Christina Welsh, Brittany Swanson, Hannah Hutchins and Ellie Martin shot free throws for the girls team. James Weitzman, Justin Mattel, Dennis Levene and Charlie DePasquale comprised the boys squad. Each player took 100 free throws. The winning team was the one that made the most foul shots received the highest amount of donations from supporters.

Swanson made 91 free throws to help the girls team win the accuracy portion of the contest. Mattel made 85 to lead the boys. In the end, however, Evans' Full Court Peace and the citizens of Juarez were the real winners.

"It's a great cause," said Levene, a four-year member of the Weston High School basketball team. "It's not something many people hear about. It's an important thing and we all felt like we should help out. When Mike asked if we would do it, it was a no-brainer."

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