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Season-long basketball foes come together to benefit Delaware's Best Buddies

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NEWARK -- Late in Saturday's boys' Blue-Gold All-Star Basketball Game at the Bob Carpenter Center, Salesianum's Brian O'Neill and St. Georges' Zaire Jacobs-Beazer stood next to each other on the block while another player readied to attempt a free throw. A week ago, the two players were on opposite sides of the state championship game.

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Saturday, they were on different sides again, but the stakes were much lower, the tension of that game non-existent. So, as his teammate got ready for that free throw, Jacobs-Beazer bent down, reached over and started to untie O'Neill's shoe. Not to be outdone, O'Neill returned the favor on the second free throw. That same gesture earned the New York Knicks J.R. Smith a suspension earlier this NBA season, but Jacobs-Beazer and O'Neill just laughed it off.

That's one of the positives of playing in the Blue-Gold game, O'Neill said after the game. "Just being around everybody else, being around all the guys that you competed against the last four years, it’s good to get to know them on a personal level, not only as enemies on the court. It was fun.”

O'Neill praised Best Buddies Delaware for the entire week's worth of activities, including a day in Dover to meet with state officials, the banquet and the game. And the best part is that Delaware's developmentally disabled are the ones who are going to benefit from it.

"It's been an awesome week," O'Neill said.

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