As the winter season approaches, the boys varsity basketball team plans to defend their title as reigning bracket champions in a tournament called The Governor’s Challenge, the largest holiday basketball tournament on the east coast.
The tournament has taken place at the Wicomico Youth & Civic Center in Maryland for the past five years, and Blake has participated in the majority of them. The tournament features a total of 101 teams from multiple states throughout the east coast, including Maryland, New Jersey, Delaware, D.C, Virginia — teams come even as far as New York and Florida to compete. Boys varsity basketball will participate in the tournament December 27 – December 30 in an attempt to take home another trophy.
Head Coach Dondrell Whitmore, sees the opportunity of playing against competition from other cities and states helps the team hone their abilities and learn new strategies. “It’s a great experience. It gives the guys a different view of talent, especially when you go outside of the Montgomery County area”, says Coach Whitmore.
Coach Whitmore thinks that these types tournaments help him with his own his abilities to coach also. Normally, he is able to scout players from other teams when preparing for a game to see what the competition is like, but not in cases like this. “We’re basically going in blind-sided,” Coach Whitmore says, “Which helps me become a better coach and helps the team in certain situations.”
Even though the tournament takes up a fairly large chunk of the team’s winter vacation, the players generally enjoy playing in the tournament. Senior forward Shane Ramsey says, “My favorite part is definitely being around the guys outside of the basketball games because you have a lot of free time.” He adds,there aren’t a bunch of activities to do out there, so you get to know your teammates much better and bond more.”
The team isn’t exactly sure about their schedule, but they’re ready for whatever they have to face. “We definitely want to win the championship, and maybe have a couple of our guys win their All-Star events. It’s going to be interesting. I definitely feel like we have a lot of talent, so it should be good,” adds Ramsey.
This year’s team really wants to win, but also values the sport. Even though they want to win, Whitmore wants the guys to enjoy themselves. “It was good to win the tournament last year because winning gives the guys hope and excitement, and allows them to feel good about themselves,” Coach Whitmore says, “Hopefully we can go back and defend our title.”