||Thread Tools||Display Modes|
COLUMN: Ronald Curry's gift to Hampton Roads
Curry's Christmas gift to Hampton Roads
By David Squires | email@example.com
Ronald Curry offered a Christmas gift to the Hampton Roads area in the form of a holiday basketball tournament. The Bethel Bruins have returned a measure of the favor by advancing to the final of the premiere bracket championship at 8 p.m. tonight
The Kecoughtan Warriors nearly doubled the return favor but fell in the opposite bracket semfinal to Freedom High School of northern Virginia. Kecoughtan had advanced to the semis on Wednesday by upsetting regional heavyweight Booker T. Washington on a buzzer-beater.
Such is the nature of holiday basketball tournaments. You can come in with a gaudy reputation, but notoriety doesn’t score baskets.
So expect a robust crowd tonight for the Bethel-Freedom final at the Hampton University Convocation Center. Game are also being played at nearby at the HU Holland Hall.
With some fans crossing the parking lot between games to see action at both venues, the first Ronald Curry Christmas Classic took on somewhat the look and feel of the Boo Williams invitational hoops tournament played in the spring at HU and across the Peninsula.
Curry, the former Hampton and North Carolina football and basketball star who now starts at wide receiver for the Oakland Raiders, said he decided to host the event through his Curry Entertainment group for a number of reasons.
Combine his love for the sport, his desire to do something for the community and his memories of holiday tournaments when he was a high school player. Tournaments similar to the Curry Classic have hosted by Fort Eustis, Bethel High and Hampton High.
“I remember the Christmas tournaments as something that was very positive and that bring back a lot of memories,” Curry said. “We didn’t get a whole lot (of toys) for Christmas, but the tournaments were something that you always looked forward to.”
One thing that makes the tournaments special is the diverse mix of people who show up, in part because of the number of teams and because of fans’ love for basketball.
“One of the reasons I’m here is to support Ronald,” said Boo Williams, the amateur basketball organizer who coached Curry in AAU basketball. “For Ronald to do this shows the kind of heart Ronald has and the type person he is.
“The other reason I’m here is because I love basketball,” Williams said.
Ric Wilson, a former Phoebus hoops’ star like Williams, was also in attendance, as was Virginia mens’ basketball coach Dave Leitao.
Wilson said that, in time, the Curry tournament can build the reputation of its predecessors, such as the fondly remembered Fort Eustis event.
“I don’t really remember the particular games we played,” said Wilson, global director of sports marketing for Converse. “But I do remember the anticipation and being part of an event like that.”
“Lots of times with the regular games it’s your team, their team, your family and friend and their family and friends,” Wilson continued. “But the tournaments are like a showcase. It’s like the whole (region) is there.”
No so good for Booker T., which dropped its second game in two days, losing 64-61 on Thursday to Oscar Smith. Kecoughtan, led by Ricardo Ratliffe (31 points), perhaps the best player on the Peninsula, gave notice that it won’t be a pushover, despite Thursday’s 68-56 defeat to Freedom.
Bethel, meanwhile, is gradually playing itself into a cohesive unit, after the addition of three players 6-foot-7 or taller from Chad, prompted predictions of Bruin greatness. (Then the Bruins promptly dropped an early season game to Warwick.)
On Thursday, the Bethel hero was under 6-foot point guard Paul Meredith, whose 15-point, 10-assist, 1-turnover night, was complemented by Jontel Evans’ 13 points, Tre Lee’s 11 and Bill Weaver’s 10.
But Bruins’ coach Craig Brehon was just as excited about the defensive effort and front court presence from junior Daryell Walker, who is not 6-foot-7 and not from Chad.
“It’s the best job we’ve done all year,” Brehon said. “We had seven kids playing well together. If we can continue to that, I’m pleased.”
And now that the Bruins have gotten to the tournament final, they’d love to leave the courts as champions of the first Ronald Curry Classic.
So when it’s all said in done after this, the last laugh might be Bethel’s.
Ho! Ho.! Ho!
HRvarsity administrator / firstname.lastname@example.org