This weekend will kick off the 16th annual Salvation Army Adult Benefit Basketball Tournament and it will, once again, showcase some of this area’s most talented adult basketball players.

The three-day tournament opens Friday evening at 7:00, at the Shamokin Area High School gymnasium and continues until Sunday. All games will be held at the High School Gym. This year’s tournament will feature eight men’s teams.

The eight teams are predominantly sponsored by businesses from the area. However, this year the tournament has again branched out to include teams sponsored from Mahanoy City, Millersburg, and Nescopeck.

Although many of the sponsors are local in proximity, players will be traveling from all over the area to compete for first place bragging rights. Many of these players are former local high school basketball stars that have played at Shamokin Area, Mount Carmel Area, Lourdes Regional, Southern Columbia Area, and Line Mountain schools.

This year, several local businesses and organizations have again helped sponsor the annual charity event with significant monetary donations. They include Olvany Insurance, East End Hose and Fire Company, Bumpers Beverages, Lincoln Towers, Snyder’s Restaurant, Subway (Coal Township) and the Bernie Romanoski Sports Hall of Fame. Business sponsors are still in need and are still being accepted. Interested businesses can contact Chris Venna at 570-205-1144.

Brian Persing and Chris Venna, Salvation Army Advisory Board members and co-chairmen of the tourney, thanked the participants, local businesses and organizations and the PIAA basketball officials for their donations and services. “We also would like to recognize our local businesses and organizations that have made monetary donations. Without their generosity, this tournament couldn’t be what it is. Their willingness to support our local Salvation Army is vital to the tournament’s success and we appreciate it immensely. Finally, we would like to acknowledge and thank our local PIAA officials for working all of the games. Their services allow for a smooth tournament with well-officiated games. With their help, we have been able to run this tournament successfully for 16 straight years. The Salvation Army thanks all who have had a hand in its success!”

Assigning PIAA officials for the 15-game tournament is Dwayne Scicchitano, Shamokin PIAA Basketball Officials Chapter Assignor.

Two games will be played Friday at the high school gym, beginning at 7 p.m., and resume Saturday at 9 a.m. and continuing through 5:00 p.m. and again on Sunday starting at 10 a.m. and continuing through 1 p.m.

Friday’s schedule of games includes at 7 p.m. — Pelicans vs. The Tropics; at 8 p.m. – Lauer Media vs. Bob Smith Water Service.

Saturday’s games open at 9 a.m. featuring Valley Rats vs. Wagner’s Gas House Gang and at 10 a.m. James Pizza vs. Level 10 Color Studio. Games will continue Saturday until 6 p.m.

Tourney action resumes Sunday at the high school gym beginning at 10 a.m. and runs through 1 p.m., which marks the tip-off of the championship game.

Team trophies will be presented to the top four teams following their respective contests.

Persing and Venna also wanted to thank members of the Shamokin Area School Board and athletic director, Rick Kashner, for use of the high school gym. They also wanted to remind everyone that the tournament is open for the public as spectators free of charge and that kettle donations will be accepted at the door. The co-chairmen said although the event has become very competitive, it is largely a fundraiser for charity and no unsportsmanlike conduct will be allowed by players. They said players will be disqualified from that game and any further tourney play after their first technical foul that results in an ejection.

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