Twisters Classic offers bonanza of hoop action

By Ivan Sanders
STAR CORRESPONDENT
isanders@starhq.com

   If you are a true basketball fan and enjoy helping young people further their skills, there is an event getting ready to get underway today at three locations offering the finest basketball action around.
   The Grindstaff Automotive Group's Twisters Spring Classic tips off with more than 30 teams competing for championships in seven different brackets. The games are scheduled at Harold McCormick, T.A. Dugger and Elizabethton High School with several opening-round games today, a truckload of action on Saturday, and the possibility of play spilling over until Sunday.
   "We are tickled to death with the response of all the teams so far," said Doug Fritz, one of the events organizers. "We have more teams this year than we did last year, and hopefully we will be able to bring in more proceeds to help the girls basketball program from the high school level all the way down to the fourth grade level here in Elizabethton."
   So far, there have been teams from as far away as Blacksburg, Va. to Knoxville and into the Carolinas that have sent in registration forms for the tournament. This will allow the girls from Elizabethton the opportunity to play against teams that they normally might not ever have the chance to play.
   There will be pool play for girls brackets ages 11-12-13-14-15, and there will also be two brackets for boys age groups. There will be a boys bracket for 12-under as well as 14-under included in the Classic.
   Each of the brackets has at least four teams, with one bracket having six. Fritz also expected to receive some late entries before the tournament actually kicked off.
   The Twisters Classic could not happen without the help of several volunteers who have wished to show their support of girls basketball in Elizabethton. These volunteers will man doors to collect money, officiate, run the concession stands, and clean up after the games are completed for the day.
   "We can still use more volunteers if anyone would like to help," stated Fritz. "They can call Mary Bush at 543-5352, myself at 434-9129, or Gerald Oliver at his office at 543-4939."
   Fritz was also pleased that Grindstaff Automotive Group elected to help with sponsorship of the tournament.
   "It is fantastic to have the fine folks at Grindstaff Automotive helping us by their financial support of this tournament," stated Fritz. "We can use the sponsorship money to take care of paying for the expenses we incur, which will allow us to use the money we take in to send these girls to summer basketball camp and possibly help with their summer leagues."
   The money taken in will be dispersed by the Twisters organization to girls basketball teams from Elizabethton High School on down to the girls in fourth grade that participate in girls basketball.
   Said Fritz: "If anyone wants to really help the girls basketball program here in Elizabethton, I encourage them to come down and take in a couple of the games and buy a tournament pass. The money will benefit these girls by allowing them to go on to the camps in the summer and participate in summer leagues to advance their basketball skills."
   What does Fritz see the girls of Elizabethton gaining from the tournament?
   "First, I hope these girls have fun playing against the different teams they will be facing," stated Fritz. "Secondly, I am hoping that these girls will benefit from the camps and leagues they will be allowed to attend as a result of the final outcome of the tournament."
   Everyone is encouraged to come by and take in some good basketball action. There will be plenty of games and good eats, but most importantly the girls basketball program in Elizabethton will reap huge benefits from the support of the attendees.