From the Sidelines: Local tournament attracts the top teams in the country

Marty Gordon

Oak Hill Academy (21-0) made a statement Saturday in a big win over Blue Ridge Academy in the 10th annual Chance Harman Basketball Tournament.

Oak Hill, located in deep southwest Virginia, is the number two-ranked high school boy’s team in the country. Of course, no would expect less from a team that is loaded with some of the top prep players in the nation.

Fans packed Floyd County High School’s gym to see the likes of Oak Hill and Blue Ridge Academy along with the undefeated Radford Bobcats.

Oak Hill’s Keldon Johnson has signed with Kentucky and Will Richardson with Oregon. This type of talent is nothing new at Oak Hill, which has become a powerhouse where outstanding players from around the country transfer to play some of the best teams in the nation.

Oak Hill has been a big draw for the tournament that was started to raise attention to a childhood cancer that struck the son of a Floyd basketball coach.

The tournament also included Northside, Massanutten Military, Hargrave Military, Teays Valley Christian, an undefeated Radford, George Wythe and a much-improved Giles squad.

The tournament and Chance Harman Memorial Foundation was founded in 2008 by Brian and Desirae Harman in memory of their son, Chance who passed away a year earlier from brain cancer. He was only four years old.

Each year a basketball and golf tournament is held along with a silent auction that includes autographed sports memorabilia. Organizers say close to $250,000 has been raised over that time for the fight against pediatric brain cancer.

A Friday night dunk contest brought fans to their feet as participants showed dunks that were typical of the National Basketball Association’s annual event.

The contest was without Gate City’s Mac McClung, a 6’3 dunk machine that has signed with Georgetown. His team already had a Friday night game scheduled, so he was unable to participate in the event that he would have probably won.

Just a week earlier, McClung wowed the crowd at the Arby’s Classic in Bristol. When he took the court Saturday in Floyd, he showed some of that talent almost destroying the high school’s rims.

The tournament was also the opportunity to remember the late-Bill Aldridge, the Christiansburg building official who volunteered his time as a Public Address announcer. Several people at the tournament said they could hear his voice during the opening ceremonies.

Aldridge passed away suddenly last fall.

The start of the new year also means resolutions for better health. Over the next month, we will do our part to help that effort with articles about reaching the level of fitness that each reader desires.

The New River Valley received some good news toward those resolutions when Planet Fitness announced they were opening a new site at NRV Mall in the next few months.

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