Middle school basketball teams came to Del Norte this weekend for The Classic: Eric Epperson Memorial.
Jeremiah Norbury pulls down a defensive rebound in heavy traffic for the Redwood Reds in the 8th grade B division championship game against Smith River on Saturday at Thunen Gymnasium.
“John Horner and myself decided that it would be nice to do a tournament in Eric’s name here,” said tournament organizer Marc Slayton. “Eric was a coach at Crescent Elk and taught there for 15 or 16 years. We wanted to do something that would carry on his legacy. He was always around kids. He coached kids and he loved kids. This is a way to remember him.”
The tournament grew from last year, with enough teams for two seventh grade divisions and two eighth grade divisions. Last year, there was only one seventh grade division and two three-team eighth grade divisions.
Local teams especially benifitted from the expansion. Teams from Smith River, Redwood, Crescent Elk and even a local team of homeschooled kids played under the team name of “USA”.
“I think we had every team in town here locally participate,” Slayton said. “That was one of the reasons we went to a fourth division this year. Our local teams represented themselves well. They handled themselves well on the court. It was just fun to watch them all play.”
Games for the tournament were played at Redwood, Del Norte High School and at Foursquare Church.
“We would like to thank Foursquare Church for giving up their gymnasium for us,” Slayton said. “Without them, we couldn’t have added that extra division.”
Money raised at the tournament over the weekend will be spread to the Crescent Elk and Redwood basketball teams with a portion also going to the Eric Epperson Memorial Scholarship at the high school.
“We had good tournout, good support from the community. It has been a really good weekend.”