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Hoop stars shine bright at Masten Boys Club Alumni Reunion

There easily were 10,000 points of high school basketball scoring talent sitting within 15 feet of the podium Saturday afternoon at the Masten Boys Club Alumni Reunion.

At the microphone was Curtis Aiken, the Bennett High School legend who scored 2,162 points in his prep career and then starred at Pittsburgh. To his right was Damien Foster, who scored 2,324 points for Buffalo Traditional before moving onto Boston College and the University at Buffalo. Then there was Malik Campbell, a 1,660-point scorer for Turner/Carroll who played both basketball and football at Syracuse. Nearby was Bennett great Trevor Ruffin, who once scored 76 points in a game at Seneca and went onto play 110 games in the NBA.

That kind of star power is part of the history and mystique of the Masten Boys & Girls Club. Loyalty to the club brought dozens of former star athletes and several hundred from the community to the club’s second annual alumni picnic.

The Masten alumni’s donation of $20,000 last year funded a new outdoor basketball court. On Saturday, the alumni presented the club with a check for $27,500, which will go toward numerous upgrades and programs.

“We always want the impact to go directly to the kids,” said Aiken. “In order to do that, they have to have a clean safe environment to come to. We want the impact to be felt first and foremost on the facility. We want them to walk into a club and be proud of the way it looks. The goal is to inspire our youth to be responsible young, productive citizens.”

The Masten club, at 397 Northland Ave., is one of 10 boys and girls clubs in the city. It serves about 100 youths daily at afterschool programs and another 100 in evening programs.

“We’ve always had alumni, and they’ve always been involved,” said Shari McDonough, CEO of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Buffalo. “But Curtis really has taken over with Tony Merriweather, and they have breathed new life into the alumni group.”

“We’re going to renovate this club and try to raise money to…

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