On Dec. 26-28, a former favorite holiday activity will be making a comeback in Danville.
The Harry Johnson Holiday Classic, formerly known as the Holiday Shootout Basketball Tournament, will be taking place again between Christmas and the New Year.
Since March, a committee has been working to revive the tournament that was previously sponsored by a local newspaper, but did not occur last year due to funding.
The committee ultimately decided to name the tournament for Harry Johnson, former longtime coach for the George Washington High School varsity boys basketball team. Johnson coached the team during the 1990’s, when the team had two state championship wins.
“We wanted to recognize him and have it named for him, especially while he’s still with us,” Lee Vogler, Danville Vice Mayor and member of the committee for the tournament, said. “It will be named after him moving forward.”
This year, the tournament will be held at George Washington High School (GW) and have early sessions and evening sessions of games.
Eight boys teams will compete, including GW, Magna Vista, Holy Cross Regional Catholic School, Westover Christian Academy, Green Run High School, Carlisle School, Dan River High School and Faith Christian School.
Three girls teams will compete, including GW, Magna Vista, and Faith Christian.
“Our goal from the beginning was to bring in some different teams that GW doesn’t normally get to play or that folks here in Danville don’t normally get to see,” Vogler said.
Vogler said it was hard to get some teams to compete this year, as calendars were already set for most teams, but they were able to get a good, eclectic mix of competitors.
They wanted to be able to have the tournament this year instead of waiting until next year for more teams, as the committee working on the tournament was passionate about giving youth something to do during time off from school.
“We wanted to give them a positive, creative outlet, especially during the holidays when they’re out of school,” Vogler said. “That was the driving point behind bringing this back and giving something positive for our youth and our entire community.”
In addition to the tournament, there will be entertainment between games and during halftime. There will also be crowd involvement to keep people engaged so it will be “more than just a tournament.”
Tickets for the sessions will be $7 each. The committee is still looking for donations and sponsors for the tournament. Their goal is to get costs covered before the first ticket is sold, so all ticket proceeds can go towards next year’s tournament.
For more information or to donate, contact Reid Taylor at (434) 548-9090.