SALISBURY- The 34th Annual Governor’s Challenge holiday basketball tournament gets underway on Saturday with early first-round games featuring local teams.
The Governor’s Challenge, long a staple on the holiday basketball tournament scene, has steadily grown to become the largest high school tournament in Maryland and perhaps the largest on the east coast. Starting Saturday and running through next Wednesday, December 30, the tournament will feature roughly 100 of the top boys’ and girls’ teams from around the region from Virginia to New York.
For years, the tournament featured the top high school basketball programs from both Maryland and Delaware competing against each other for bragging rights in the neighboring states along with signature desserts on the line for both states’ governors. The tournament was rebranded in 2010, and thanks in large part to a partnership with DMVelite Showcase Events, now features some of the best boys’ and girls’ teams from all over the mid-Atlantic region and beyond. The tournament last year added a girls’ varsity division and is adding a junior varsity bracket this year.
The action gets underway on Saturday with games practically around the clock until its conclusion with championship games next Wednesday. The local area and the Lower Shore are well represented with top teams competing in every bracket. For example, the Decatur boys take the court on Tuesday against Battlefield High of Virginia, and will play Bowie next Wednesday. The Decatur girls open with McDonough on Saturday and will play a second game against an undecided opponent on Monday.
The Worcester Prep boys open with a game against Kings Christian on Saturday and the Mallards’ second-round opponent will be determined by the outcome of the first game. Otherwise, the Bayside South is well represented including Parkside, Bennett and Wicomico. The local private schools are also well represented with Worcester Prep and Salisbury School, for example.
Tickets cost $30 for a week-long pass and will provide access to all games for the entire tournament and the special events. Daily passes cost $10 and can be bought at the gate. The games and events will be held mainly at the Wicomico Youth and Civic Center with satellite locations at Wicomico and Bennett High Schools.
In addition to the games, the Governor’s Challenge also features several special events showcasing the remarkable talent competing. For example, the Slam Dunk Contest will feature some of the top players in the field, many of whom have committed to Division I schools. The Slam Dunk contest is set for Friday. The High School Three-Point Contest will be held over two days on Friday and again on Monday and will feature the elite shooters from all over the region. Finally, the High School Skills Challenge is set for Monday and will feature the top eight boys and four girls in the field.