LYNN — The 41st annual Lynn Elementary Basketball Tournament tips off Wednesday afternoon (3:30 p.m.) at Pickering Middle School.
It’ll run until March 24, with 10 days of action spread out over the next three weeks. The tournament consists of a boys and girls team for each school, making it 34 total teams that will take part. The teams have been split up into two divisions based on school population.
Sean Morris, who has organized the event for the past seven years, said the tournament has evolved as a yearly tradition in Lynn sports.
“I think it’s one of the few things that brings together kids of that age in the city,” Morris said. “There aren’t any other sports in the elementary schools besides basketball. Kids watch sports on TV and they idolize LeBron James and Kyrie Irving. They get to step on the court and they become part of the Lynn community.”
Those who participate get the chance to represent their schools in front of a crowd of fans. Morris said it gives students a good opportunity to build and embrace school pride.
“It’s really just being able to put something together that brings the whole city together,” Morris said. “It allows kids to come together and have pride in their school. It builds a lot of self confidence in themselves. Parents and teachers come out and root for these kids and that gives them pride.”
Through his involvement with the tournament over the years, Morris has seen a handful of Lynn natives play elementary basketball and grow into high school hoops stars. The chance to follow their careers when they move onto the high school stage, Morris noted, is a neat one.
“You watch them play at 10, 11 years old and when they’re 16 they’re playing high school basketball in Lynn for St. Mary’s, English, Classical or Tech,” Morris said. “Some of them go on to play in college. Even at that age you can tell they’re going to be special.
“This is the 41st year for the tournament,” Morris said. “Kids will come in and their parents have played in it. I don’t know many other tournaments in Massachusetts that have been running this long.”
The action concludes with all-star games on the 24th. All games will be played at Pickering and admission cost is $1, good for all games on that respective day.