TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) – Families and fans pour into the gymnasium, filling up the stands at Terre Haute South for the First Financial Wabash Valley Classic.
“I like to watch kids this age play because they play true basketball,” said Darrell Roundtree.
A lover of basketball, and a former player himself, Roundtree has never missed a classic tournament.
“I played in the old Wabash Valley tournament for three years,” he said, “I see a lot of the guys I used to play against, they’re here tonight too.”
Not only does it bring back memories for Roundtree, it’s an opportunity for valley teams to grow.
“I think it’s great for the kids to back their team, and then for the players to play and get more experience against teams they don’t normally play,” said Roundtree.
In addition to guaranteeing a good game, the classic is also a financial boost for participating teams.
“It’s not unreasonable to expect a team to make anywhere from $2,000 to $3,000 for their program and that’s just from participating in the tournament,” said Tournament Director Ticia Wright.
Wright says there are other opportunities for teams to make money by selling tournament passes at their school prior to the tournament, as well as sell ads in the tournament program book. Wright says teams keep 100 percent of the proceeds from ad sales.
“Obviously the kids have a lot of fun, there’s a lot of good basketball to watch, but it’s here to better these programs and get them the financial support that they need not just for the tournament, but for their entire basketball season,” she said, “It’s a good opportunity for these schools, especially the smaller schools that really, this is their only fundraiser for the year.”