High school hoops players from across the region and the country hit the courts Friday for the second day of the Mirabito STOP-DWI Holiday Classic. The competition has been a tradition for 21 years. Our Melissa Kakareka has more on how the tournament and its message have grown over time.
BROOME COUNTY, N.Y. -- Broome County's STOP-DWI Holiday Classic has grown into one of the premiere high school basketball competitions in the country over the past 21 years.
"Our reputation has been so positive so some teams repeat. By word of mouth we really have become one of the tournaments people want to be at," said Tom Corgel, all-star chairperson.
The tournament started with one national division of eight teams back in 1992 and now has developed into a competition with a national bracket and two regional brackets. As the competition grows, so does the audience that hears the message behind the game.
"Hosting these tournaments, we can reach athletes, coaches, fans and the county through media sponsorships,” said Chris Marion, STOP-DWI Program Coordinator.
Every year, coaches and players attend lectures and workshops about the dangers of drunk and impaired driving.
Marion said, "The reaction to the speakers has been very positive. The coaches are seeing a lot of speakers they haven't seen before, and resources are being made available for the future."
"We have great kids at Maine-Endwell and I think they have been very receptive and have taken the message to heart," said Maine-Endwell basketball coach Bill Ocker.
Organizers say the tournament continues to be a success, so they look forward to carrying out the tradition in the future.
Corgel said, "Its kinda neat to think its lasted 21 years. Last year was our 20th and we kinda wondered how long it would go. We think we have a good future."
A tournament that's about much more than who wins the games.