Players, parents, and fans alike are in for a special treat this year, since for the first time since 2006, all eight games of the first round, along with the semifinals and finals of the annual Frank Spencer Basketball Tournament, will be held at Lawrence Joel Veterans’ Memorial Coliseum (LJVM). Thanks are due in large part to the dedicated efforts of Principal Charles McAninch of West Forsyth High School and Principal Spencer Hardy of Parkland High School, and the support of the tournament’s corporate sponsor, Battery Watering Technologies.
It’s been over a decade since all the participating teams have begun the Tournament playing in LJVM Coliseum. Principal McAninch and Principal Hardy discussed the idea and felt it was time to bring the tournament back to its original format for the players’ benefit, as well as the fans.’ The other High School Principals agreed with the idea, and Battery Watering Technologies was named as Title Sponsor. Contributing sponsors are Pepsi, Lowder Mulch and Topsoil, Myers Tire, and East Coast Wings, along with numerous program advertisers. Athletic Director Mike Pennington from West Forsyth states, “I have been involved in the Frank Spencer as a basketball coach and Athletic Director since 1989. The Spencer has been a great tournament for a number of years. The fact that our kids have been able to play in the same arena where they watch Wake Forest and other ACC teams play has always been one of the things that makes this tournament special. For the past several years, only the teams that [had] won their 1st-round games in the Spencer have been able to play in the LJVM (Coliseum). We are very happy that all the 1st-round games this season will be at the LJVM, which means that the student-athletes from all 16 teams will get to play in the Coliseum this season.” Special Halftime events have been planned for the tournament, including, this year, the plan to involve more youth from the WSFCS community. Of course, the idea could not have come to fruition, had it not been for the generosity of Battery Watering Technologies, who, when first approached about Title Sponsorship, were immediately excited to be a part of this community-wide event.
This nationally recognized basketball tournament is named after Frank Spencer, the former sports editor for the Winston-Salem Journal. It is one of the oldest holiday tournaments in existence, originating when Spencer formed the Northwest (NC) Basketball Tournament in the 1920s, and running through the early 1950s. At one point, there were more than 140 teams participating in the nearly four-week tournament and Ripley’s Believe It or Not proclaimed it as the world’s largest sports tournament at the time. In 1974, the tournament was revived as the Frank Spencer Holiday Classic in Winston-Salem and modified to its current three-day tournament format, encompassing schools from within the system. It’s featured some great talent in the past, including NBA and Wake Forest standouts Chris Paul (West Forsyth High School) and Josh Howard (Glenn High School), along with UNC’s Reyshawn Terry (RJ Reynolds High School). It has grown to become a must-see holiday tradition for fans of basketball, area high schools, and sports in general to enjoy while displaying their team spirit in support of their school.
The tournament begins on Tuesday, December 26th, and runs through Thursday, December 28th. Consolation games will be played on Wednesday and Thursday at West Forsyth and Parkland High Schools, both of which serve as co-hosts for the event this year. Admission is only $10 at LJVM and $8 at the host schools. Fans can enjoy free parking at LJVM this year, courtesy of East Coast Wings.
Once again the teams will be equally divided into two brackets of eight teams each; beginning with the Myers Tire Bracket along with the Pepsi Bracket. The four games in the Pepsi Bracket will begin at LJVM on December 26th, at 9:00 am, followed by four games in the Myers Tire Bracket, to be played in the late afternoon and evening session. The semi-finals will be played on December 27th, culminating with a Cheerleading Competition and the finals on December 28th.
As part of the effort to bring the tournament back to its original nature, it has been made more affordable for families to witness high school competition at its finest. All thanks to President and CEO Scott Elliott of Battery Watering Technologies for the Title Sponsorship, and contributing sponsors Pepsi, Myers Tire, Lowder Mulch and Topsoil, and East Coast Wings, for making it possible.
So bring your friends and family and be a part of three days of excitement, great hoops action, and fun you don’t want to miss!