The Kiwanis Holiday Classic boys basketball tournament, a Christmas-break tradition in Manassas for most of the past 25 years, this month will tip off for the final time.
Tournament director Kevin Kelley said coaches from the Manassas schools that play in the event have said they do not like to face regular season opponents in the holiday tournament, and they would like the event to include more teams from outside the area.
That wish conflicts with the Kiwanis Club's desire to maintain the tournament as an inclusive community event. Inviting more teams from outside the area also would increase the responsibilities of organizing and running the three-day tournament.
"As the Kiwanis tournament, it's going to go away," Kelley said. "The club decided it was not something we could handle as a Kiwanis club. The [tournament] committee itself wanted to take the next step" and include more nonlocal teams, "but the committee is just five or six guys. You need the support of the whole club to make it work, and the whole club said they didn't want to do it anymore."
Manassas schools Stonewall Jackson, Osbourn and Osbourn Park--all members of the Cardinal District--and private school Seton have competed in recent tournaments. Stonewall dropped out this year to play in a tournament in Pennsylvania.
"We want to face a different level of competition and get the kids out and to stay overnight," Stonewall Coach Dave Huckestein said before the Raiders' trip to Pennsylvania. "I just want to get away and play some different teams."
The tournament began in the mid-1970s and ran for about 10 years before returning in 1992, Kelley said. It has been held each year since and was an eight-team tournament for the past five years. It dropped to six teams this year, with Osbourn, Osbourn Park, Seton, Hylton, Marshall and North Stafford. The tournament will take place Dec. 27-29 at Osbourn.
Kelley, a Stonewall graduate, said it was popular demand that helped resurrect the tournament after its absence of several years.
"We had gotten a lot of feedback from different people about how much they missed it," Kelley said. "It was a place where when you came back from college you knew if you went to the Kiwanis tournament, you'd run into friends. In '92, we were hoping to make it that again, and to a certain extent it was, but it never got to the community event kind of flavor like it used to."
Kelley said the tournament has raised $25,000 for schools and thousands of dollars for local charities since its return in 1992.
"If there's another group interested in taking it over, I'd give them all the help and information I have," he said. "It went away before and came back. So who knows what the future holds."
Outstanding New Floor
As part of its widespread school renovations, Osbourn has a new basketball floor boys coach Mike Dufrene had a hand in designing.
"It's nice that you walk into the gym, and the basketball floor stands out at you," said Dufrene, whose team is 2-0 on its new court. "I think we have a lot of school pride now, something we didn't have before, and when you eliminate red lines, which are not your school colors, and you put school colors on the floor, that's a new look for us.
"We're trying to build a whole new tradition. We've got to make some statements."
One tendency the Eagles hope does not become a tradition is falling behind on that new home floor. Park View jumped out to an 11-2 lead. Courtland scored eight straight points in the first half Tuesday night and broke open a tie game by rattling off the first 11 points of the second half.
Besides the new floor, another feature separates Osbourn from other schools: The national anthem Tuesday was performed by a student on electric guitar.
The good news for the Stonewall Jackson boys in their game against North Stafford was that they patiently worked the ball for good shots and played fine defense. But a 12-of-50 shooting night trumped that diligence and resulted in a 40-34 loss.
"Forty-five of those shots I can't say anything about," Coach Dave Huckestein said. "They were wide-open looks. Nothing was falling. I'd never seen a game like that. It was very strange."
Three starters being in early foul trouble did not help, and sophomore center Jaaron Greene was serving the second game of a two-game disciplinary suspension.
After last night's game against Gar-Field, the Raiders are idle until Jan. 4.