Cornwall hosts invitational basketball tournament
Young basketball teams from across eastern Ontario will descend on Cornwall this weekend for a pair of invitational tournaments.
The annual Atom and Bantam Boys’ Invitational Basketball Tournaments are being held this Saturday and Sunday, with 24 teams participating and action being spread out over four school gyms.
The Atom tournament – featuring 10 and 11-year-olds – will take place at St. Joseph’s Catholic Secondary School and Sacred Heart Catholic School while the Bantam tournament – for 12 and 13-year-olds – will be held at CCVS and St. Lawrence Secondary School.
Joining the local Lions teams on the court are teams from Kingston, Belleville, Brockville, the Ottawa area and beyond.
The tournaments are a big deal for developing players – and it’s also a big deal for the local economy. Upwards of 300 players, coaches and team staff will be attending the events along with hundreds of parents and other supporters. That translates into significant spin-offs in the form of spending on accommodations, restaurants, shops and the like.
“It’s nice to have teams from other communities visit Cornwall and play here,” said Troy St. Germain, coach of the Bantam Lions. “It’s great for Cornwall.”
The invitational tournaments have become a yearly staple on the local sports calendar, and for many teams, they have become a must-attend event.
“For a lot of teams, this is their overnight tournament. Whenever they come to Cornwall, they make it a weekend for the kids,” said Perley Lewis, the coach of the Atom Lions and travel team coordinator with the Cornwall & United Counties Basketball Association (CUCBA).
Part of that is due to the competition. But an equally important factor is the effort volunteers put in to create a fun and lively atmosphere. There’s music pumping in warm-ups and at halftime and canteens are open serving food throughout the weekend. There’s also a silent auction with over 20 items up for grabs.
“Parents over the years have said, ‘Our kids love coming here. You guys do it up right.’,” Lewis added.
Support from the business community has also been key to the success of the event, which expanded to 12 teams last year and could grow even larger in the years to come. Upper Canada Mortgage sponsors the Atom team while numerous other businesses have stepped up to support the event or the silent auction, including Axxis Optical, Boston Pizza, Spinners Diner, The Glengarrian, Shoeless Joes and Pizza Pizza.
As for the battles on the court, the local players are just as excited as the visiting athletes.
“It’s big for the local boys because they want to do well on their own court,” added St. Germain.
The action kicks off at all four schools on Saturday morning, with the playoffs and finals taking place Sunday afternoon.
Looking for other fun things to do in Cornwall? Make sure to check out our Events page for info on upcoming events in the area!
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Planning a visit to Cornwall? Cornwall Tourism can help. Email us at email@example.com to request a copy of our Visitor Guide or contact us at (613) 933-0074. You can also stop by the Cornwall Tourism office inside the Cornwall Civic Complex at 100 Water Street East. The office is open Monday to Friday from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm.
Article by Kevin Lajoie
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