The Governor’s Challenge, sponsored by The Bank of Delmarva — now the largest holiday basketball tournament on the East Coast — returns to the Wicomico Youth & Civic Center this Tuesday through Friday.
This year’s format will include a larger DMVelite Showcase division, including 16 top teams from around the region, as well as a new post graduate division.
The tournament also features varsity boys division, varsity girls division and a boys JV division. In total, 101 teams from Maryland, Delaware, Washington, D.C., Florida, North Carolina, New Jersey, New York, South Carolina and Virginia will participate in this year’s tournament.
From a beginning of 35 Boys HS Varsity teams located on the Eastern Shore of Maryland and in Southern Delaware, the tournament had grown to 100 teams in 2015, an increase of 185 percent in two years.
Last year, the event added Girls Varsity, Boys JV and “Showcase” divisions. There are teams from seven states, making it the largest HS holiday basketball tournament on the East Coast and 2nd largest in the nation.
Officials estimate the tournament generated more than $1.2 million in economic impact in an off-season time for tourism..
This year is special: The 2016 tournament will only increase to 101 teams from eight states, but it will include the first foreign team to participate, a “travelling team” representing several countries in Europe from which it draws players.
There is also a value-added program for the community that will be launched this year because of the tournament. The Rotary Club of Salisbury has been a partner with Wicomico Tourism in supporting the tournament by procuring sponsors and advertisers. The Club receives a commission on successful sales.
This year the Rotary Club has created a new program targeted to help the youth in our community. Rotary’s “Three-Point Initiative: Promoting Responsibility, Integrity and Academic Achievement.”
The initiative will not be directly implemented by the Rotary Club. The club, each year, will “pass through” 100 percent of the money it raises, through working with the tournament, to qualified nonprofits it has selected. The club earned $5,527 this year.
The Donnie Williams Foundation is matching dollar for dollar. There will be $11,600 to get started and the nonprofits selected will be given a grant on Thursday night in a brief ceremony before the start of the Slam Dunk and 3-Point Shot events.
- M&T Skills Challenge, Three Point Contest and Slam Dunk Contest
- Skills Challenge – On Dec. 27 & 29 at 9 p.m. at the Wicomico Youth & Civic Center, watch the top point guards from the event compete in a timed course just like the NBA All Star Skills Challenge.
- Three Point Contest – Watch top sharp shooters compete in the Three Point Contest on Dec. 27 & 29 at 9 p.m. at the Wicomico Youth & Civic Center. Each player will have 60 seconds to make it through five ball racks and try to claim the three point crown.
- Slam Dunk Contest – A fan favorite every year, the Slam Dunk Contest will take place on Dec. 29 at 9 p.m. at the Wicomico Youth & Civic Center.
- Halftime Contests – Enjoy free halftime contests for prizes like Dick’s Sporting Goods gift certificates, Buffalo Wild Wings gift certificates, Dr Pepper prize packs, Governor’s Challenge prize packs, Chick-Fil-A prize packs and more. All you have to do is find our MC Eric in the arena during the event to sign up for contests.
- Video Games – Courtesy Aaron’s and Game Stop, NBA 2K will be available to play on the big screens in the lobby for FREE! Come and enjoy some friendly competition!
- Giveaways – Courtesy of Peninsula Regional Medical Center, each day there will be giveaways including rally towels, mini basketballs and more. Be sure to get here early while they still last! T-shirt tosses will occur daily in the arena.
- Flu Shots – Courtesy of Peninsula Regional Medical Center, the Wagner Wellness Van will be on site from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. daily administering flu shots for $10.