The Concord Classic keeps getting bigger and better.
In its fourth year, the boys high school basketball event founded by Concord coach Ralph Flowers has become a two-day showcase. Concord High will be the site for two games on Saturday, followed by five games on the traditional Martin Luther King Jr. holiday on Monday.
Flowers was inspired to come up with the event after taking his Raiders to play in the Josh Palmer Fund Classic, an annual tournament in Elmira, New York, that raises funds for local cancer patients and their families.
This year, proceeds from the Concord Classic will be split between Coaches vs. Cancer and Concord’s own cancer fundraising efforts.
The schedule features seven Delaware teams taking on seven out-of-state opponents.
“We’re getting a lot of interest, from fans and coaches,” Flowers said. “Coaches are already calling about next year.”
Play begins Saturday with the first session, consisting of two games: Smyrna vs. Patterson Mill (Maryland) at 2 p.m., and Caesar Rodney against Flint Hill (Virginia) at 3:45.
Monday’s first session tips off at 10 a.m. with Wilmington Christian against West Chester East (Pennsylvania), followed by Brandywine against Strath Haven (Pennsylvania) at 11:45.
Then the gym will be cleared and a separate admission will be charged for the final three-game session, when the competition really heats up. Mount Pleasant (8-0), ranked third in Delaware, will meet Our Saviour Lutheran from Bronx, New York, at 2:30. Then it will be fifth-ranked Salesianum (5-5) against St. Mary’s of Staten Island, New York, at 4.
Finally, fourth-ranked Concord (7-2) will wrap it up against Plymouth Whitemarsh, which is 12-1 and ranked among the top teams in Pennsylvania. It continues a tradition of tough Concord Classic matchups for the Raiders.
“We’re 1-2 in my own event,” Flowers said. “People say, ‘Flowers, you can’t win at your own event?’ But we do it because you want to see where we’re at a month before the playoffs. Plymouth Whitemarsh, they’re a top team. That’s what you want to do.”
Admission for each session is $8 for adults, $5 for students. Concord’s small gym has been known to sell out quickly, so it’s a good idea to arrive early, especially for the final session on Monday.
Thomas stepping up
Over her first three years on the St. Elizabeth girls basketball team, Alex Thomas was able to play outside much of the time as Sabrina Hackendorn and Macy Robinson mixed it up inside. Now, with those two graduated, Thomas is thriving in an all-around role for the Vikings.
“She can do it all, and I’m asking a lot from her,” St. Elizabeth coach Dan Cooney said. “I’m asking her at times to come out and handle the ball, plus play around the basket. She just plainly does everything for us. Everything.
“If we didn’t have Alex Thomas this year, so far I don’t know how many games we would have won.”
Thomas went 6 for 6 from the field and 4 for 4 from the line in the second half on the way to 21 points in Monday’s 53-43 loss to third-ranked Sanford. She is averaging a team-high 16.3 points per game, and will be key again when the No. 4 Vikings (6-4) host second-ranked Caravel at 7 p.m. Friday.
“This is her basketball team,” Cooney said. “She’s earned that right. She’s been here four years, she’s been a starter all four years. She’s done everything for us – guarding the toughest kid on the other team, handling the ball, rebounding, scoring underneath, scoring outside. I just can’t say enough about the kid.”
Rounding it up
•Padua’s Kelly Muschiatti set a pending state record in the girls pole vault, clearing 11 feet, 3 inches last week at the Bears High School Invitational in Collegeville, Pennsylvania. Muschiatti’s vault was 1 inch higher than the 11-2 of Middletown’s Ashley Bailey at the 2014 DIAA Indoor meet. Padua’s Maiya Dendy won three events – the 55-meter dash (7.14 seconds), 200 (25.32) and 400 (59.10). Teammate Emily Paolucci won the mile in 5:12.91. Charter of Wilmington’s Kevin Murray won the boys 3,000 meters in 9:04.14, and Cape Henlopen’s Sam Young cleared 14-6 to win the boys pole vault.
•Salesianum’s Donte DiVincenzo and Ursuline’s Adrianna Hahn – both Villanova signees – are among 823 high school seniors who have been nominated to play in the McDonald’s All American Games on April 1 in Chicago. The rosters of 24 boys and 24 girls will be announced at 6 p.m. Jan. 28 on ESPNU.
Also, DiVincenzo became the sixth Salesianum player to reach 1,000 career points during Tuesday’s 64-37 victory over Tatnall. He joins Bruce Kelleher (Class of 1957), Michael Thomas (1974), Tracy Peal (1979), Danny Stroud (1998) and Gene Delle Donne (2005).
Contact Brad Myers at email@example.com. Follow on Twitter: @BradMyersTNJ.