WESTFIELD, NJ — Westfield High School will host Westfield Basketball Association’s third annual Get Better 3-on-3 Challenge Basketball Tournament on Saturday, Oct. 21, for players in fifth through eighth grade, with special guest former New Jersey Nets player Brian Taylor.
The annual tournament, previously held at Edison Intermediate School, is a fundraiser that, in the past, raised money for Westfield Public Schools. This year organizer Jim Lane, a teacher at WHS, has paired up with Antoinette Bowers, who works with the Jacquelyn White Helping Hands Foundation, a support organization for primarily indigent people who have mental health issues.
Bowers is the wife of Westfield’s all-time leading basketball scorer Russell Bowers, who has many connections with girls basketball. Lane explained that this has been a struggle in the past with this tournament.
“He is very involved with girls woman's youth basketball,” Lane said. “The tournaments have been great in the past, we have raised a lot of money, but we wanted to build up the girls’ side of the tournament more.”
This is also the first year that they have teamed up with an organization. Although half the proceeds will go to the foundation the other half will go directly to the Westfield High School girls and boys basketball teams.
The event also has two sponsors this year. The Westfield Education Association is donating water bottles. The WBA will provide the equipment, online enrollment and insurance for the event.
“It’s 100 percent volunteers. No one gets paid for this,” Lane said. “We have student athletes from Westfield High school who will be officials.”
Because both boys and girls are encouraged to participate in the event each have their own time slots: Boys will play from 2:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. and girls from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. There can be three to four players per team (four is recommended) and teams play in a “round robin” style format for 90 minute periods.
The fee is $50 per player. To register online and for tournament details, click here. Teams are encouraged to create their own uniforms.
Additional donations to the Helping Hands Foundation can be made via their website.
“I am really proud of the fact that we have been able to keep this going with the help of a lot of people. This year the athletic department here has been very helpful with us getting the gym time booked,” Lane said. “To have it here at Westfield High School is a little bit more exciting for the kids.”
Nicole Dispenza is a student at Westfield High School participating in a journalism program with TAPinto Westfield.