From Staff Reports
The first weekend of March in the Beckley area is a big deal in basketball, not only for high school tournament play, but also for the annual Wendy’s/YMCA Biddy-Buddy All-Star Tournament.
The tournament, now in its 41st year, will tip-off today and will feature approximately 70 teams from West Virginia, Virginia, Kentucky and Ohio. The competition is spread over five age divisions from fourth through eighth grades, and will be played on four different sites in the Beckley area.
Sites aare the Southern West Virginia YMCA, Park Middle School, Van Meter Gymnasium on the campus of UC-Beckley and Woodrow Wilson High School.
YMCA CEO Jay Rist played in the tournament as a youngster and talked about the importance of the tournament to the players. “I think the great thing about it is the opportunity for the kids to come in and make memories that will last a lifetime while playing the sport they love.” Rist said he carries those memories with him even to this day.
The tournament has featured some well-know talent such as Beckley native and Charlotte Bobcat Tamar Slay, J.J. Redick of the Milwaukee Bucks and Huntington native O.J. Mayo of the Dallas Mavericks.
Along with the benefits for the players, Rist noted the monetary effects on the city of Beckley.
“The tournament is expected to draw thousands or more fans to the area, which will provide a huge boost to the local economy,” he said. Hotels, restaurants, shopping malls, movie theaters, etc. will feel the boost.
Today’s 9 a.m. games are at the YMCA and UC-Beckley campus sites. The 5 p.m. games are at Park Middle School and Woodrow Wilson High School.
The Biddy-Buddy All-Star Tournament is made possible by its title sponsor, Wendy’s of Southern West Virginia.