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.