The first ever boys’ basketball game between Salem and Glenvar High Schools will be the featured event, at least for Salemites, when Salem High School, the Western Virginia Basketball Officials Association and the City of Salem join forces to honor the memory of Adam Ward Saturday.
The second annual Adam Ward Basketball Classic, created in his honor, will take place at Salem High School and feature seven high school basketball games. Proceeds generated that day will benefit the Adam Ward Scholarship Fund that is part of the Salem Educational Foundation and Alumni Association.
Fourteen of the top boys and girls teams in the region will play in the event and fans can pick-up an all-day pass for just $10. Tickets can be purchased in advance at Salem High School from 7 a.m. – 2 p.m. each school day this week. They also will be available at the door the day of the event.
Three of the valley’s longtime basketball supporters, Jerry Spangler, Grant Smythers and Hank Luton, are in charge of the tournament. Smythers, who is a teacher and former coach at Salem High, has been instrumental in fundraising for the Ward Scholarship since it was established in 2015 following Adam’s passing.
“Adam personified the true meaning of a student-athlete and he was a huge sports fan who loved high school basketball,” says Smythers. “This 2018 Adam Ward Basketball Classic will highlight some of the best basketball teams from Rockingham County to Scott County, and the money generated from this event will provide scholarship opportunities for students who are deemed ‘Adam-Like’ during their high school careers.”
The event tips off at 10 am with 13-2 Parry McCluer taking on Broadway in a girls’ game. The Salem and Glenvar girls will meet at 11:45 am, followed by the Salem boys against Glenvar. The two local schools have never met in boys’ basketball dating back to the opening of Salem High School in 1977.
“Both schools wanted to do it,” said Smythers. “Hank(Luton) talked to the schools involved and they were quick to agree.”
The game could become an annual event at the Adam Ward Classic.
“I think we need to play each other more often,” said Glenvar coach Dave Redding, who played for Salem High during his school days. “I can see why they might not want to play us, because of the point system, but the kids all know each other and it will always draw a good crowd.”
Salem coach Kevin Garst isn’t taking the Class 2A Highlanders lightly.
“They have a good team,” he said. “This could be a good rivalry. It should be a great environment Since we play right before the Gate City game.”
Following the Salem-Glenvar game will be Gate City against Pulaski County at 3:15 pm. Gate City features Georgetown signee Mac McClung, who has been drawing big crowds wherever he goes with his spectacular dunks. McClung sold out the gym at the Chance Harman event at Floyd County High School.
“They call him the ‘Human Highlight Reel’,” said Smythers. “He’s a phenomenal athlete and he’s had some of the top dunks in the United States. You can see them on YouTube.”
At 5 pm the 15-2 Lord Botetourt girls will play Floyd County, a perennial state contender in Class 2A. Undefeated Radford will play William Fleming at 6:45 pm, and the schedule ends with undefeated Northside against Patrick Henry at 8:30 pm.
There will also be special events for the kids, including a Hot Shot Contest and a Half Court Shootout. Donations will also be made to the Special Olympics, which was a favorite of Adam’s.
“It should be a great day of basketball,” said Smythers.
10:00 a.m. Parry McCluer vs. Broadway (Girls)
11:45 a.m. Salem vs. Glenvar (Girls)
1:30 p.m. Salem vs. Glenvar
3:15 p.m. Pulaski Co. vs. Gate City
5:00 p.m. Lord Botetourt vs. Floyd Co. (Girls)
6:45 p.m. William Fleming vs. Radford
8:30 p.m. Northside vs. Patrick Henry