While local basketball star and Sacramento Kings’ shooting guard Chavano “Buddy” Hield was in town this past week it turned out to be a worthwhile visit not only to him, but to the benefit to a number of parents, children and high school teams.
The First Buddy Hield Dream Week Basketball Tournament capped off a week that young athletes from Freeport and Eight Mile Rock certainly enjoyed and took advantage of.
This past Thursday and Friday eight high school teams played off for the grand prize of $5,000 worth of Nike gear. Each participating team also received $2,500 worth of gear courtesy of Nike.
On Thursday night the Sunland Stingers topped the Eight Mile Rock Blue Jays by the score of 46-20. The St. Georges’ Jaguars defeated the Mary Star Crusaders, 46 - 23. The Tabernacle Falcons routed the Bishop Michael Eldon Warriors 70 - 23. And the Pine Forest Academy Phoenix knocked the Jack Hayward Wildcats, in the freshly donated new uniforms courtesy of Hield, 40 - 34.
The semi-finals took place Friday morning. The Falcons blasted the Phoenix by the score of 100 - 42. The Stingers squandered a 20-point lead over the Jaguars but managed to survive and advance to the championship with a 52 - 50 win.
The Falcons and Stingers faced off later that evening in the championship in a down to the wire affair. The Falcons used a second half surge to move past the Stingers and be named the first winners of the Buddy Hield Dream Week Tournament, 52-48.
Regis Cooper was named the most valuable player with a team-high 13 points. Franco Miller Jr. added 11 points in the win. Brandon Meadows scored a game-high 15 points for the Stingers, while Howard Burrows chipped in with 14 points.
The Jaguars defeated the Phoenix to win third place, 61 - 43.
During the closing ceremony that took place before Friday’s slate of events, Hield took to the podium to thank all of the sponsors that helped to make Dream Week the success it was. He also thanked his parents, Jackie and Richard Brennen who he credited for “pushing” him to be the best he could be on and off the court.
He then had a message for all the young people that made it out to the camps and participated in the tournament.
“Thank you for the kids being here; the parents, everybody. I can’t say enough how thankful I am to see you all here. All the guys here playing here and working hard; I just want to say stay encouraged, keep working, always put God first. Never say you can’t make it,” he encouraged, “A lot of people said I couldn’t make it but I always had that dream I would make it. No matter when people said I wasn’t good enough but I kept working.”
Hield also enlightened all of the young athletes about the distractions of social media. But he also gave the athletes tips about taking control of their destiny and developing their craft.
“You can make a change. Y’all have social media and y’all have phones so y’all can go on YouTube. You don’t need a coach to work y’all out. Look on YouTube and watch videos that can help you all get better and better. Use it as advantage to help y’all get better.”
The NBA sophomore encouraged the parents to encourage their children in whatever it is they may want to do.
Dream Week coordinator Jalisa “CoCo” Hield felt the week was a success. Most importantly, she was happy to have accomplished one of their top goals for the week.
“One of our most achieved goals was the children and the smiles on their faces when they received their gifts for back-to-school was the highlight of every session during this week. So I can say we are very grateful and that warmed all of our hearts.
“We still have a lot of improving to do but we’re getting it together. We’re standing together. We’re keeping as a family. It’s a community effort and I think we’re doing a good job so far.”
The night also featured a three-point contest and slam-dunk competition. Mateo King was lights out from deep and won the three-point, while Shyrone Kemp used his “arm in the rim” dunk to be crowned the slam-dunk winner.
Hield and company also gave out more school supplies while some of the sponsors present received a Sacramento Kings jersey with Hield’s name on the back.
Dream Week reached its climax with a hurricane relief concert Saturday night that featured one of Jamaica’s top recording artist, Popcaan. The proceeds from the concert will be used to help some of the affected persons from Hurricane Matthew.