Competitive basketball has a fairly new home.
That place of residence is Shawnee and Steve McElwee, sports coordinator for the Shawnee Family YMCA, hopes that it can continue to stick.
As many as 33 teams and possibly more, made up of youth in grades 3-8, are expected to converge on Shawnee Saturday, Nov. 16, for a one-day tournament, called the Fall Face-Off, at various facilities across town. Teams from across the state are expected to attend.
Cost, location and the lack of big-city traffic difficulties make Shawnee a destination to stage this tournament and another set for Dec. 14, with more to come during the spring and summer.
“You're not having to battle traffic like in the city. Shawnee is in the center of the state. This is a great area,” said McElwee.
The YMCA, Oklahoma Baptist University's Recreation and Wellness Center (also known as the RAWC), the new Shawnee Middle School gym and North Rock Creek School are four facilities which will be utilized for the tournament as action begins at 9 a.m. and goes to approximately 9 p.m.-10 p.m. on Nov. 16.
The first of these type of tournaments was conducted last December and has been a hit since. One of the attractions of the tournament is the cost. Each team pays just a $25 fee as opposed to other competitive tournaments which charge hundreds of dollars. However, those attending the games will be charged a fee, ranging from $5 to $8 for an all-day pass.
Support and availability of gyms play a key role in the success of staging these type of tournaments.
“OBU has been very supportive. David Gardner with the RAWC has been helpful. The schools are amazing with (Shawnee High School boys basketball) coach Ron Arthur and (SHS) athletic director Todd Boyer and Chad Brooking at North Rock Creek,” McElwee said. “Everybody in town is on board and it's great.”
Future dates for these tournaments in 2020 include: March 7-8, April 4-5, May 9-10, June 6-7, November 21 and December 12.