Blackwell Holiday Hoops scores big

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By Robert Howey

The sixth annual Matt Blackwell Foundation Holiday Hoops Classic, featuring 35 teams, capped play Saturday night, as champions were crowned in seven different divisions.

The week-long tournament involves teams who participate in the Moriah Baptist Association league, from first graders to high school seniors.

The tournament also includes a college division.

Games were played during the week at several church gyms with all championship games being played Saturday at Lancaster High School.

Besides crowning seven champions, a Matt Blackwell Sportsmanship Award was presented to a player in each division.

Tournament championship game results and sportsmanship award winners were as follows:

Grades 1-3, First Baptist of Kershaw 16 First United Methodist 9

Coleman Joyner of First Baptist of Kershaw

Grades 4-6, Immanuel Baptist 44 Second Baptist of Kershaw 4

Wristen Gardner of Second Baptist of Kershaw

Junior High Girls, Second Baptist of Lancaster 13 Hyde Park Baptist 10

Haley Heath of Hyde Park Baptist

Junior High Boys, Rich Hill Baptist 45, Hyde Park Baptist 30, Cameron Middleton

Senior High Girls, Master's Koinonia 26 Second Baptist of Lancaster 10

Cady Creighton of Douglas Presbyterian

Senior High Boys, Hyde Park Baptist 59 First United Methodist 52, Will Harper of Second Baptist of Lancaster

College boys, Celtics 52 Founders Fellows 43, Adam Chittam

"This year's tournament was another success," said Larry Blackwell, Matt Blackwell's father. "We've more than doubled the number of participating teams over the last two years and added three additional age divisions. This year we were able expand our format and schedule games throughout the week.

"This would not have been possible without some of our area churches offering the use of their facilities," Blackwell said. "We owe a great deal of thanks to First Baptist Church of Kershaw, Hyde Park Baptist and Zion United Methodist for opening the doors of their gyms to us.

"Also, the Moriah League, under the leadership of Neil Couch, was instrumental in the success of our event," said Blackwell. "At tournament's end, 60 games were played, 27 on Saturday alone.

"It takes a special team to put something of this magnitude together, and we have that with our tournament director, Mike Couch, the Foundation's Board of Directors, and our many volunteers, sponsors, and supporters. The community continues to support the work of Matt's foundation and for that we are most appreciative," Blackwell said.

The Matt Blackwell Foundation was established to support the youth in Lancaster County.

Since its inception in 2001, it has awarded 28 four-year college scholarships to high school seniors at Lancaster, AJ, Buford, and Indian Land high schools.

The foundation also supported construction of the field house at the Lancaster High baseball field, Doomsday Corner.

The foundation provides financial help for needs within the athletic departments at all four county high schools, supports Lancaster Junior Golf, USC-L golf, the Lancaster Dream Team, Dixie Youth Baseball and Christian Service's Angel Tree Project and many other projects through its Responsive Grant program.

For more information visit the foundation's website at www.mattblackwellfoundation.org.