By Alicia Dziak

If you’re looking to check out the local hoops scene in Springville, there’s no better time than next week during the annual Emerling Holiday Basketball tournament, where you can see the Varsity and JV levels for both boys and girls compete against area schools. From Dec. 27-29, watch the Griffs take to the court as they vie for bragging rights and the championship.

This tournament has been sponsored by Emerling for many years, and Carl Emerling buys the awards and T-shirts for the participants.

JV girls coach Chris Matthewson explained the history of the tournament: “… in the early 1990s, Springville and Pioneer alternated years hosting an early season tournament that usually included West Seneca West and a fourth school, some years Olean Walsh.  Springville and Pioneer began playing each other in league play in the late 90s and we often ended up playing each other two additional times in the shared tournament and in the Park School Christmas tournament that we were both in also.  Add the potential for a playoff game and that was potentially five games a year – both schools were looking to add some other schools as non- league games to enhance the variety of opponents in our schedules.”

Pioneer took over the tournament full time and Springville moved initially to a tournament that Lackawanna hosted and eventually to just playing non- league games.

In 2005, Carl Emerling approached the SGI boys basketball team about starting and supporting, with his donations, a Holiday Tournament to recapture that tradition of a tournament with neighboring school districts.

“The first year, Springville, Gowanda, Catt/Little Valley and West Valley were the four participants,” said Matthewson.  “In 2008, Carl again brought up the idea of expanding to include a girls bracket, and Springville, West Valley, Catt/Little Valley and Eden made up the girls bracket.”

Matthewson noted that, “Over the years, teams have moved in and out of the tournament, except for Springville and Gowanda, who have been a part of every tournament so far. This year, Pioneer returns as a participant on both the boys and girls side, as we are no longer regular season league opponents.”

The tournament begins on Tuesday, Dec. 27 at 10:30 a.m. with neighboring Pioneer taking on West Seneca East in two games: JV at 10:30 a.m., followed by Varsity at noon.

Following that, the Lady Griffs will take to the court against Oracle Charter. The JV game starts at 1:30 p.m., with Varsity tipping off at 3 p.m.

At 4:30 p.m., Pioneer’s Varsity boys battle it out with Gowanda, with the Griffs taking on Catt-Little Valley at 6 p.m.

The JV boys make their tournament debut on Wednesday, Dec. 28 at noon—Pioneer vs. Gowanda and noon, and the Griffs vs. Catt-Little Valley at 1:30 p.m.

The JV girls will duke it out after that, with the consolation game at 3 p.m., followed by the championship game at 4:30 p.m.

On Thursday, Dec. 29, the boys’ JV consolation game will be held at 10:30 a.m., with the championship game tipping off at noon.

At 1:30 p.m., the boys’ Varsity consolation game will decide who places third and fourth.

Girls’ Varsity action wraps up with the consolation game at 3 p.m, followed by the championship game at 4:30 p.m.

The final game of the tournament will be the boys’ Varsity championship game at 6 p.m.

Wear your purple and gold and come cheer on your Griffs to victory!