Good sportsmanship and opportunities highlight another successful John Welsh Memorial Basketball Tournament

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[March 02, 2017]  LINCOLN - LINCOLN - The John Welsh Memorial Basketball Tournament was held this past weekend (February 25-26) with record turnout. A record 173 teams registered for the tournament bringing a lot of families and visitors to Lincoln.

The tournament saw students from all across the state and with various skill level.

The tournament was founded back in 1997 by John Welsh to provide Junior High students with an experience of what it was like to compete against students of all skill levels, and to gain experience for the level of competition found in High School basketball. It now hosts grades third through eighth boys and girls.

Coach Terry Bishop of the Central Illinois Wildcats is a four-year veteran of the tournament and stated that the “tournament was a pleasure to come to because it was so well organized and it gave his students a chance to compete against truly high-level competition.”

The event held in Lincoln was an excellent demonstration of community as several cities were able to join together for this event. This event was able to include diverse communities for one common purpose: the children. The volunteers and coaches were in good spirits as they were willing to give up a weekend in order to provide a vital experience for the students.

The event witnessed skills such as teamwork, sportsmanship, and dedication at play from all ages. The skill that seemed most prevalent was sportsmanship as witnessed during a 5th grade boys basketball game played by the Pekin Union Mission and the Jets Blue. One of the coaches for the Jets Blue was observed to encourage sportsmanship in his players.

One local teacher commented on the impact of the tournament by stating being “amazed at the talent and teamwork that was displayed by the students,” Trent Kavelman.

The other unique aspect of this event was the emphasis on the students and not just the game itself. This was seen as the tournament provided an opportunity for the extracurricular programs at Lincoln Junior High to raise funds by working at the concessions. According to the volunteers working, all the students at LJHS are to benefit from this weekend’s event. The LJHS student council running concessions at Lincoln Park District planned to use funds earned to purchase more Chromebooks for the school.

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Overall talent, teamwork, sportsmanship, were observed this weekend through the generosity of the volunteers, coaches, and sponsors of the tournament.

The tournament locations included Chester East-Lincoln, Lincoln Junior High School, Lincoln Community High School, Zion Lutheran, Central, Washington-Monroe, Lincoln College, Lincoln Christian University, and the Lincoln Park District Recreation Center. The games were held on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.

A special note of appreciation to Mr. Kent Froebe, Mr. Michael Workman, their families and the many others who plan, organize, work, and volunteer to make this tournament happen.

The tournament held brackets for boys and girls third through eighth grade with champions for each grade.

See the separate bracket pages for winners.

[Aaron Clayton]


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