Tourney gives hope for a league

Published 12:00 am Friday, November 26, 1999

Turkey’s can move over as Thanksgiving garnered a new meaning Friday at Martin Gym in Natchez.

The first Natchez Thanksgiving Basketball Invitational Tournament began with a gym full of participants.

The tournament is a double elimination tournament and is split by age groups. The age groups range from 13-15, 16-19 and 20 and over.

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The three-day tournament will continue today running from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. On Sunday, the tournament will run 2 to 7 p.m.

People are encouraged to bring non-perishable food for free admission to the tournament.

&uot;We want everyone to bring some canned goods so we can replenish the Stewpot,&uot; said Helen Brown, event coordinator.

The tournament is the starting point for a Youth Basketball League for ages 12-19 to begin in January.

&uot;We are very excited about the tournament and the new league,&uot; Brown said.

Dominique Trimble of Vidalia was one of the participants from the Miss-Lou. Trimble and friends formed the only girls team in the tournament. Their Omega team played hard but eventually loss two games Friday.

Event coordinator Frank Taylor can see only good things coming from the tournament and basketball league.

&uot;This age group is the most neglected and we hope to change that,&uot; Taylor said. &uot;All you have to do is look on the court and in the gym to see the interest everyone has.&uot;

He believes the league will be a stepping stone to betters things. &uot;We want to showcase these kids talents as well as teach them the importance of teamwork,&uot; Taylor said.

He hopes the new league will help area youth find jobs in the summer and learn other life skills.

&uot;We have children from Vidalia and as far away as Roxie here tonight,&uot; Taylor said. &uot;We were this age once, and we need to reach out to the children and show that we still care about them.&uot;

The games are played with the youngest playing first and the older teams playing in the evening.

&uot;We hope that the younger children will stay and watch the adults play,&uot; Brown said. &uot;They might find some role models out on the court.&uot;

Brown wants the tournament to become a Thanksgiving tradition in Natchez and hints at plans for a March Madness tournament.

&uot;This is our first tournament but it definitely isn’t our last,&uot; Brown said.