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Newtown holds first sporting event since massacre

The Newtown girls basketball team takes a moment of silence during the pre-game ceremony of Nighthawk's game against Masuk on Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2012 in Newtown, Conn. Wednesday's basketball game was the first sporting event since the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting.
AP Photo/The News-Times, Jason Rearick

In a small step in the town's slow return to normalcy, the Newtown High School girls' basketball team took to the court Wednesday night for the first time since the shooting that left 26 dead at the local elementary school.

The Newtown Nighthawks beat their rival, the Masuk Panthers, 64-44 in the first sporting event in Newtown since the deadly massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School. There was a 26-second moment of silence to honor the victims.

"We got to run, we got to get our minds, our frustration out of us a little," Newtown senior Erin Kenning told Newstimes.com. "It was just important for us to be here today."

A banner reading "Newtown Strong" was placed below the scoreboard and 26 balloons - 20 white and six green - were positioned along the sidelines.

"Basketball is really trivial in what is going on, and really insignificant in life," Newtown head coach Jeremy O'Connell told Newstimes.com. "But it is a positive place where this town has seen a lot of positive things."

Meanwhile in nearby Hartford, the University of Connecticut women's basketball team held a pregame ceremony in memory of the Sandy Hook victims.

There was a moment of silence before No. 2 UConn played Oakland played at the XL Center. Huskies players and cheerleaders formed a circle at midcourt holding 26 lighted candles. Members of the Governor's Foot Guard of Connecticut were also part of the tribute.

UConn players wore small patches on the front of their game jerseys with the letters "SH." The letters were white with a green background, the school colors at the elementary school located about 50 miles from the arena. In addition, UConn bench personnel and others associated with the game wore special green and white ribbons.