Niagara Gazette — The holidays are a time for sharing, and local high school teams have taken that to heart.
With league play on hiatus through winter break, it’s become tradition for secondary schools to take part in an array of tournaments.
This year, Starpoint is opening its doors to host an annual boys basketball tournament while two teams from Niagara Falls have organized competitions at off-site venues. Numerous other teams will take part in tourneys hosted by other schools.
The Spartans kick things off tonight with the Pendleton Lions Club tournament. Last year’s champion, Medina, tips things off against Orchard Park at 5 p.m., with the Spartans taking on South Park afterward, at approximately 6:30 p.m. The tournament wraps up Saturday, with a consolation game at 3:30 p.m. and the championship following at 5 p.m.
“It’s a good chance to play at home during Christmas and take on some teams from outside our league,” said Starpoint coach Ben Scaffidi. “We’re very appreciative of the (Lions Club) for that.”
Admission to the tournament has been $3 in past years, and any proceeds collected by the Lions Club will be donated to a charity of its members’ choosing.
The Niagara Falls federation hockey team starts play tonight in the inaugural Cataract Classic, the Wolverines’ ice version of the long-running showcase put on by the school’s basketball program.
Like the basketball programs’ event, the Classic is put on by the Niagara Falls Education Foundation. The Foundation is funding the event and all proceeds will go into its scholarship fund, according to NF hockey coach Stan Wojton.
“My assistants and I started talking about doing something, and we approached (the Foundation),” Wojton said. “We thought it was a stepping stone for our program, and they supported us.”
Six teams are taking part, each playing tonight and again Saturday morning at Hyde Park. Victor, from near Rochester, will take on Sweet Home at 8 p.m. tonight on rink no. 1, followed by Niagara Falls against Grand Island at 9:30 p.m. Lewiston-Porter and Hilton, another Rochester-area school, will play on rink no. 2 at 9:15 p.m.