First ever Grand8 Basketball Classic begins Monday
Perham-The 2015-16 boys and girls basketball schedule has a brand new addition for the Perham Yellowjacket programs.
Usually during the week between Christmas and New Year’s holidays, teams travel to various tournaments across the state.
In the past, the Perham Yellowjacket boys would make the long road trip to play in Worthington, while the girls would play at Monticello or other select places across the state.
For the 2015-16 season and the foreseeable future, the Perham Yellowjackets are staying home.
The Yellowjacket Backcourt Club along with the support of several area businesses are hosting the first ever Grand8 Holiday Classic on Dec. 28 and 29 at the Prairie Wind Middle School and Perham Area Community Center.
The tournament is presented by the Grandstay and Super 8 Hotels.
Discussions for hosting a holiday tournament began last spring when the Perham Backcourt club approached Activities Director Erin Anderson.
“It’s a way to try and showcase our boys and girls basketball teams to our community. We have been sending them to Christmas Tournaments out of the area,” Anderson said. “The boys have a long history with Worthington, which was a great tournament, but it’s kind of tough for our fan baseto get down there. They felt it was time to do something here where we could bring some teams to town, have some Perham hospitality and have some good basketball.”
The tournament will be a junior varsity and varsity tournament with games at the PWMS and the PACC. The varsity games will all take place at the PWMS, while the junior varsity will play at both the PWMS and the PACC.
The tournament features eight games on both days with action beginning at noon on Monday and 10 a.m. on Tuesday.
“We threw it out there to get teams on both the guys and girls side. It was a little bit late in the world of AD planning, but we felt confident we could get a good product and teams that were available for a tournament,” Anderson said. “We were able to secure those teams.”
It’s a strong field of teams for both the boys and the girls side of the tournament.
The first varsity game will feature the Hibbing Bluejackets taking on Holdingford in girls basketball at 2 p.m. on Monday. Hibbing enters tournament play with a 6-2 record overall, while Holdingford comes in with a record of 3-4. Perham will take on Isle at 6 p.m. in the other girls basketball semifinal. Isle enters tournament play with a 5-1 record overall.
“We have always gone to other tournaments, so it’s nice to host our own. We have parents that are split up with girls and boys tournaments and the travel, so we thought we could host a great tournament,” Perham girls basketball head coach T.J. Super said. “I think we figured it out, have it set up and have three teams coming in. We are looking forward to hosting our own tournament and maybe have it grow in the future with our expanded facilities.”
The girls field features a unique mix of large and small schools participating in the tournament.
“It should be four good teams. It’s an interesting mix and I don’t think any of these schools have played each other,” Super said. “It’s an interesting mix of A, AA and AAA. We are excited about the field that we have.”
The boys side features a premier matchup in the first game of the tournament. St. Peter, 7-2, will take on Spring Grove, 7-0; at 4 p.m. Spring Grove enters the tournament ranked third in Class A.
The evening game will feature the Perham Yellowjackets taking on Marantha Christian Academy at 8 p.m.
“It’s one of the best things that Perham has done in a long time,” Cresap said. “It’s going to be an excellent thing for our programs. I hope everyone comes out and supports it.”
They decided to forgo participating in the annual Worthington tournament and one of the things that Cresap was hoping they would be able to do is bring in some quality teams and hope to make this tournament a yearly thing. Cresap said people have stepped up and that there is a waiting list for future seasons.
“Spring Grove is loaded with athletes and they are going to be really, really good,” Cresap said. “St. Peter has two 6’6” kids and just got another kid back, otherwise they probably would be undefeated at this time. Marantha Christian is struggling, but they are getting two more kids back and will be very good. It’s going to be a great thing. We are matched up with Marantha Christian the first round and we are ready for a lot of athletes coming at us in that first round.”
Anderson is quick to credit the work of Michelle Bormann and the Backcourt Club for their effort in putting this tournament together. Anderson said that Bormann and the tournament committee have been in constant contact with the teams and tournament sponsors
“I have to give all the credit to the Backcourt Club. They have allowed me to just focus on the nuts and bolts,” Anderson said of the tournament coming together.
Anderson added that it is a positive for the community and an opportunity to show their commitment to basketball.
“The fan bases of the other six teams will get a chance to experience what Perham is all about. They will get to experience the uniqueness of our downtown,” Anderson said. “I know that our business folks are excited about it. They want to be ready for it and show off Perham.”
Grand8 Holiday Classic
2 p.m. Hibbing vs. Holdingford
6 p.m. Perham vs. Isle
12 p.m. Third Place
4 p.m. Championship
Grand8 Holiday Classic
4 p.m. Spring Grove vs. St. Peter
6 p.m. Perham vs. Marantha Christian Academy
2 p.m. Third Place
6 p.m. Championship