Every year fans of the hit CW television drama, One Tree Hill meet up in Wilmington, North Carolina to take part in the annual charity basketball game hosted by one of the shows stars, James Lafferty. On March 24, 2007 – Fanvasion made the trip out to the small town, where the show is filmed to take in the festivities! When we arrived that morning, we already witnessed swarms of people all waiting outside the Cape Fear Community College: Schwartz Center for the doors to open and the fun to begin, we could already feel the adrenaline that would soon be pumping through the basketball gym.
As the crowd moved in and found spots on the shiny bleachers, the Tree Hill Ravens (who are the fictional basketball team from the show) began to warm up for the big game against Cape Fear’s home team. If you didn’t have ear plugs, you would’ve needed them when the squeals overcame the gym as soon as James took to the court to shoot a couple of pre-game rounds. Being the sweet guy he is, James took time to answer some questions about the event as well as One Tree Hill.
“This is our fourth annual One Tree Hill charity basketball game and obviously we’ve been doing it for four years now, but this year it’s drawing a lot of people out. It’s going to be a lot of fun!” James told us. “We’re raising money for some good charities,” when asked about the causes the game would be supporting. “It’s the Wilmington YMCA, the Cape Fear Scholarship Association and then also, a little girl named Hannah [Smith], who has cerebral palsy. She can’t really afford the treatment she needs right now, so we’re going to try and help her out a little bit.” My mind immediately went back to the sweet little girl we saw earlier who was front and center gazing at the court waiting for the game to start with the support of her parents. Hannah has had a trying time growing up dealing with spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy. The money raised will help get her treatment that her insurance can’t cover.
As the stars of the show, including Hilarie Burton, Bethany Joy Galeotti, Lee Norris, Paul Johansson, Barbara Alyn Woods, Danneel Harris, and Bevin Prince arrived, the roaring sounds of crowd increased. Even some of the new faces of the current season such as Kelsey Chow, Amber Brooke Wallace and Elisabeth Harnois came out to support… and sing? That’s right! It’s a party where One Tree Hill is concerned and anyone who loves the show knows that Joy [Galeotti] has a beautiful singing voice that she’s shared with the fans not only in a handful of episodes, but as well on two of the series soundtracks.
To start the game off right Lee and Barbara came out to introduce some of the ladies from the show that would be performing in a few minutes. As they thanked the fans for coming out, Barbara announced that there would soon be another addition to her family. Yup, she’s pregnant! We were told that the baby is due sometime in July. Soon after, decked out in red, white and blue dresses, Joy, Hilarie and Elisabeth took to the court to sing an a capella, 1940’s inspired version of the “Star Spangled Banner”. As their voices filled the gym, thousands of flashing bulbs lit up as fans snapped photos of their favorite stars.
It was now noon and we were all ready to kick this game off. The first team out was the Cape Fear Sea Devils, and as “I Don’t Want To Be” by Gavin DeGraw blared through the speakers, the Tree Hill Ravens emerged from the locker room and jogged to the court, greeting fans on the way. Playing for the Ravens as they do every year were more stars from the show, Antwon Tanner, Vaughan Wilson, and even the series creator and executive producer, Mark Schwahn. Paul, who plays Dan Scott, the basketball obsessed mayor of Tree Hill and crummy dad to Nathan and Lucas, was even the coach for the team! Art imitating life? Maybe. But, not the evil part because Paul was definitely charming and in good spirits the whole afternoon!
While the game carried on to the music of the soon to be released season four soundtrack, The Road Mix, the rest of the cast talked to fans, threw merchandise; such as t-shirts and hats into the stands. There were even raffles to win more goodies! One of the days highlights was definitely when the crowd all whipped their heads around to one of the gyms entrance doorways halfway through the game to see the tall and gorgeous Chad Michael Murray [who plays Lucas Scott] walk in along his very pretty and very tiny fiancée, Kenzie Dalton. The day has been full of pleasant surprises so far! Chad talked to the audience, greeted his fellow cast members and rooted on James and the rest of the Tree Hill Ravens.
Unfortunately, the Ravens lost to the Sea Devils — 61-64, but it was still a very happy occasion. Afterwards the cast members and players stuck around for a few hours to mingle with fans, sign autographs and take pictures. The biggest news is that with the help of his co-stars and the dedicated fans of the show, James was able to raise $64,000 for these amazing organizations for Wilmington and Miss Hannah Smith.
We had such a blast meeting the stars, greeting the fans and taking in the fun that we’re already looking forward to the fifth annual! If you’re able to get down to Wilmington, NC next year and you love the show, we suggest stopping by, watching the game and showing your support. You won’t regret it.
– Courtney Justice, April 2007