STEVE HANLON: Bring back the Gary Holiday Tournament

2014-01-02T17:30:00Z 2014-06-24T21:20:29Z STEVE HANLON: Bring back the Gary Holiday TournamentSteve Hanlon Prep Beat
January 02, 2014 5:30 pm  • 

GARY | There have been a lot of questions Americans have been asking lately. Like, is there a Santa Claus? Or how many children will I have to sell to afford the new health care law? Or will Miley Cyrus ever learn to close her mouth?

But another question has bounced around the area the last few weeks and it's time to finally answer it.

What the H-E double bamboo shoots happened to the Gary Holiday Tournament?

One of the region's and state's best in-season tournaments disappeared like Gilligan and the Skipper. It started in 1950 at Memorial Gymnasium. The players competing in this great event was a Who's Who of Indiana legends.

Glenn Robinson. Dick Barnett. Wallace Bryant. Tellis Frank. Winston Garland. Jerome Harmon. And of late, Michigan State's Branden Dawson.

Their legacy and the great moments died without a whimper after West Side beat Lew Wallace 69-58 Dec. 28 of 2012. Poof.

"We hosted it but Earl Smith ran it," West Side boys basketball coach Murray Richards said. "When Earl retired no one picked it up. By the time anyone thought about it everyone's schedule was filled."

So instead of a gym with 3,000 fans or more watching exciting basketball, about 50 fans were at Roosevelt last Saturday for the "Winter Classic." One out of two ain't bad.

Yes, the three-game affair was played in the winter. It was cold outside. There was snow on the ground.

The word "classic," though, would never, ever be used to describe what went on inside Bo Mallard Gymnasium on Ron Heflin's court.

In the opening game Lew Wallace beat Chicago Winnie Mandela, 74-46. The kids working the concession stand could've given the Hornets a better game. What made it worse was Mandela arrived almost an hour late. The players strolled in as Wallace was about to play an intersquad scrimmage.

Mandela's players seemed to walk slower and no one apologized for the tardiness.

"Last year was more organized," Lew Wallace guard Richard Wash said on Saturday. "We were in the championship game. The place was packed. That didn't happen today."

The next game was even more embarrassing, especially from one of Indiana's top programs historically. Roosevelt beat South Bend Career Academy, 99-13. And it wasn't as close as the score.

God bless SBCA, but they were awful. I'd shut down the program today.

The Panthers dribbled off the last three minutes of the game in order to not score 100. That showed class. But on at least six attempts breakaways turned into players throwing passes off the backboard and trying to dunk. That did not show class.

Roosevelt playing a school this bad never would've happened before. This was not coach Marcus Jefferson's fault. The "classic" was put together before he was hired.

It was painful to sit in the gym last Saturday, save 21st Century's win over Chicago Prologue in the final. That was good basketball between two good teams.

There is good news, however.

"We plan on getting it kick'n next year," Richards said.

Awesome. Area fans will love it. But invite Bowman Academy and it will be complete, then.

This column solely represents the writer's opinion. Reach him at

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