The 13th annual Capital Classic resumes play Monday with four games at Dover Central Middle School.
The 13th annual Capital Classic middle school basketball tournament begins Monday with the first of two days of action at Dover Central Middle School.
Dover Central will host eight games over two days, beginning Monday with two boys games and two girls matchups.
First, action gets started with the first boys game of the day, pitting Gauger-Cobb (4-5) against Holy Cross (3-5) in a ATI Physical Therapy Division matchup at 3:30 p.m.
The first girls game of the day follows with Postlethwait (5-5) taking on Holy Cross (6-0) in a H&R Block Division game at 4:45 p.m.
The second boys game of the day features McDonald’s Division matchup between Postlethwait (5-5) and Campus Community (7-3) at 6 p.m.
Monday’s action wraps up with the final girls game of the night matches Pepsi Division foes against one another when Chipman (9-2) takes on host Dover Central (9-0) at 7:15 p.m.
Capital Classic having positive impact on middle school basketball
Having grown from only a handful of teams to now 32 total teams, the Capital Classic has established itself has one of the premiere basketball events in the state.
While some teams are new this year, others have been around since the start like Chipman Middle, led by second-year head coach Dion Miller.
“I’ve been around the tournament from the first year when there were only four teams,” Miller said. It’s gotten so big that people from all over the state talk about it.”
Miller’s counterpart at Chipman, Petie Davis, the Girls Head Coach, echoed his statements.
“It’s something that’s good for middle school basketball,” Davis said. “It gives the kids exposure that they normally would not get and they get to showcase their talent on the big stage. It’s our middle school state tournament.”
John Wright, Boys Head Coach at Fifer Middle, has been impressed by how far the tournament has come, but even more so for what it offers to not only his squad but others around the state as well.
“I’ve seen the tournament grow and teams added throughout the state which is a really big thing,” Wright said. “With several divisions, everyone has a chance to play for a championship, even teams that start off slow.”
In a state widely dominated by high school sports, Postlethwait Head Coach Duane Coverdale says the Capital Classic gives middle schoolers a chance to show they’ve got game too.
“The Capital Classic has been an excellent event and gives middle school players an event to look forward to and a forum of their own without being overshadowed by high school basketball, Coverdale said.
The tournament has increased its reach each season and this one is no different. One of the tournament’s newest entrants is Shue-Medill; girls Head Coach Matt Owens has seen the positives of the tournament from afar and is looking forward to seeing his team participate as a first-year head coach.
“I think the tournament is great for the student/athlete to see the different teams and their style of basketball,” Owens said. “This tournament gives the girls a chance to showcase their talent and put their name on the map - this is a great stepping stone for high school and possibly college.”
For other teams, outside of the Henlopen and Middletown-Newark area teams, are squads like Providence Creek Academy from Clayton, Del. who don’t have a lot of opportunities to compete within their own school districts.
“The Classic really has a special place in our hearts because some school districts do not have basketball as part of their program,” said Head Coach of Providence Creeks Girls’ team, Julius Williams. “It gives some of the best unknown players and opportunity to show their skills and provide a gateway for high school coaches to see some of these players.”
This year’s Capital Classic features 16 boys and girls teams from up and down the state, each side bracketed into four divisions. The four teams then play for that divisions’ championship.