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Court interns lose annual basketball game to court officers

August 7, 2015 By Rob Abruzzese Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Intern Kareem Welch defends court officer Lenny Brackett during the annual basketball game between interns and court officers of the Kings County courts system. Eagle photos by Rob Abruzzese
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Basketball court is now in session.

Students from the Kings County Courts Student Employment and Internship Program went head to head with some of Brooklyn’s finest court officers in a basketball game and lost 45-39 at McLaughlin Park on Thursday.

The game is an annual tradition for the interns going back 20 years, and unfortunately it is also an annual tradition for the interns to lose every year.

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“This is my final year before I retire so I really wanted to take our first win back to the courthouse,” said Izetta Johnson, who runs the internship program. “I already had my victory tagline for the paper. I told somebody, I’m going to tell you, ‘It took us 20 years, but we finally wore their asses down.’ Unfortunately, we almost did it, but came up short. That’s all right.”

Led by its best players, Kristian James and Corey Francis, the interns put up a solid fight and even led 23-21 at halftime. However, the experience the court officers had proved to be too much as they went on a 10-0 run to start the second half that left the kids just trying to keep up. James nailed back-to-back three-pointers in the final minutes, but it was far too late for a comeback.

“It’s a fun time, we get to come out here and bond with the kids, have a good time and show them it’s about teamwork,” said Lt. Evan Smith, who has played in all 20 games and is the coach of the court officers. “We come out here, have fun, put on a nice show and everyone goes home happy. Us more happy than them.”

The annual basketball game is one of the final parts of the internship and while it may seem like a day off, Johnson said it is an integral part of the experience.

“Not only is it memorable, but these court officers don’t realize what they deposit into these young people just by having this game,” Johnson said. “They teach them that you can go to work, you can have fun, you can work together and form some kind of camraderie with your co-workers. That’s something that you don’t learn with any regular internship or a job. Those kinds of things can take years to develop.”

Kareem Welch, who coached the intern team, said that the game and the internship program, have become one of the most memorable experiences of his life that he will cherish forever.

“This has been real cool, I’m never going to forget this,” Welch said. “It’s funny because when I first heard I was doing this internship, I was upset, but it ended up being the best thing. Honestly, I asked to be put somewhere else because I was scared. I didn’t know anything about court work, but every day has been great and I’ve learned so much.

“I didn’t really care about winning,” Welch continued. “It might sound lame, but I just wanted everyone to have fun. It is a nice day out and we’ve had a great experience interning here with Ms. Johnson. What a great way to end it.”

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