Christmas is right around the corner, which means it is time for some holiday hoops.
The annual Fellowship of Christian Athletes Winter Classic tips off on Dec. 21 at Kornegay Arena on the University of Mount Olive Campus.
“There’s no way we could host this tournament without the support that we get from the communities, and not just financially, but it takes close to 60-70 volunteers to be able to run this tournament,” Greater Neuse Area Director Ronnie Wise said. “To me, it’s another opportunity to serve these coaches and athletes.”
After not having fans in the stands at last year’s tournament, fans will be welcomed back with open arms to this year’s tournament.
“Personally, it’s kind of weird when you have a tournament with no fans,” Wise said. “So, I’m excited to be able to have the fans back again.”
Multi-time FCA champs Goldsboro are back in the tournament. Southern Wayne, Rosewood, Wayne Christian, James Kenan, Parrott Academy, South Johnston, and last year’s runner-up Wayne Prep comprise this year’s field.
Games are scheduled for 2:30, 4:00, 6:00, and 7:30 each day. Like the fans, Wise hopes to see some great basketball, but what’s most important to him is imparting life lessons to student-athletes.
“Hopefully, they’ll be able to walk away from this tournament with things that translate off the court,” Wise said.
Tickets are $10 per day at the door or $20 for an all-tournament pass. Concessions will be available. Proceeds from the three-day tournament benefit the Greater Neuse Fellowship of Christian Athletes.
“Those proceeds go to FCA, and a lot of that will be used for purchasing resources, such as bibles that we give away to teams. Some of it will be used for camp scholarships,” Wise said. “We have a football camp that we try to help send our teams to, we have a leadership camp that we send local youth to, and we have a coaches camp, and we try some scholarship money.”
For fans who cannot make it to the tournament, Daily Testify, which is a tournament sponsor, will stream the tournament.
“It’s a first-class webcast,” Wise said.