The Harlem Rockets comedy basketball team landed at Rockland District High School Tuesday night and was greeted by a full house of smiling faces.

The Rockets played a local “Dream Team” made up of community members, teachers and students. The squad was coached by RDHS principal Tom Forti.

The event raised more than $3,000 for RDHS’ project graduation, a chemical-free party on graduation night to provide an alternative for the recent alums.

Money was raised through ticket sales, concessions and a 50/50 raffle prize that winner, Mike McGuire of Owls Head, who works for the school and has a senior daughter who attends RDHS, gave back to the program.

“They are wonderful people to work with,” said Ilmi Cater, co-coordinator for the project, about the Harlem Rockets. “It’s wonderful. It;s such a nice upbeat program. It’s great, especially on the heels of the [high school] basketball season. It’s a good midwinter thing to do.”

According to the Rockets’ website, “The Harlem Rockets are a team of talented, well-known, and well-trained players who excel in comedy basketball at its finest.” The site continues to state that the team has played more 1,700 “undefeated” games since the team was formed.

Forti commended the Rockets’ skill and admitted that “despite the noble attempt by the coaching staff, we still lost by 10 [points], but it could have been by a hundred if they really wanted to.”

The Rockets’ comedy program was not limited to the court. The afternoon before the game the team traveled to the RSU 13 schools to perform and spread a message to the students about self-esteem and healthy living.

“I think [their message] helps kids think about the future,” Carter said. “These guys, they have fun with what they do, they are all college educated, they are all successful and they just enjoy life.”

Carter said the best part of the team was “the positive influence they have on the kids.”

“They just have a good message,” she said. She added that she took the team to the alternative education school where “[the Rockets] had one of the guys talk about the challenges he faced and the things that helped him to stay positive and to not listen to people that did not believe in him. He said, ‘You have to believe in yourself.’ “

Click for more photos from the Harlem Rockets at Rockland District High School.

Village NetMedia Sports Reporter Frederick Freudenberger can be reached at 207-594-4401 or by e-mail at fritz@villagesoup.com.