Pahokee wins inaugural Big O Basketball Classic

BELLE GLADE — The Pahokee Blue Devils came out on top in the inaugural Big O Classic, a preseason basketball tournament featuring four basketball teams located around Lake Okeechobee.

Special to the Lake Okeechobee News/Bryan Crawford
The Pahokee Blue Devils were able to claim the championship trophy at the Big O Classic on Nov. 23.

The tournament kicked off on Nov. 22 at 5 p.m. when Pahokee took on Clewiston, followed by Glades Day facing Glades Central at 7 p.m.

Pahokee beat Clewiston 75-72 in a close game to open the tournament, while Glades Central topped Glades Day 77-69.

The tournament continued the next day on Nov 23 with a consolation game at 5 p.m. and a championship game at 7 p.m.

Clewiston beat Glades Day 55-44 in the consolation game while Pahokee defeated Glades Central 70-62 in the championship game.

“We wanted to do something that would involve some of our lake area high schools to kick off the high school basketball season,” said Glades Day athletics director Zach Threlkeld of the new event. “To my knowledge, there hasn’t been a Glades area basketball preseason tournament in a while.”

Glades Day basketball coach Keyon Hodges echoed Mr. Threlkeld’s sentiments.

“I’ve been in the process of getting this off the ground for three years,” explained Hodges. “I finally have it. We’re hoping it will become an annual event. Once football is over, we want the kids to still have incentives to keep staying in school and keep staying involved. Just giving them another avenue to travel down other than football. We want to get the community involved and keep the Glades area going.”

The event was sponsored by Bank of Belle Glade, Walgreens, Chevy of Belle Glade, and Belle Glade Pharmacy.

“We want to reach out to these kids through sports,” said Hodges. “It’s a great way to keep them safe from violence and engaged in school. That’s my goal and it’s what I’m trying to bring with this Big O Classic.”

Richard Marion is a staff writer and photographer at Lake Okeechobee News and can be reached at rmarion@newszap.com.

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