The Times West Virginian

Prep Sports

May 12, 2014

East Fairmont Shootout a good time for all

PLEASANT VALLEY — East Fairmont girls’ basketball coach James Beckman said there were three keys to the 8th Annual East Fairmont Shootout going successful: being on time, being organized and having a good work ethic.

On the final day of the tournament, when asked if those keys were met, Beckman’s answer was simple.

“Absolutely,” he said, motioning toward a player carrying a championship trophy out of the East Fairmont High School gym.

The yearly tournament housed nearly 100 teams in several locations including EFHS and Fairmont State, where the championship games were being played Sunday.

To run smoothly, Beckman was counting on his group of workers — East Fairmont basketball players and their parents — to keep everything up to the high standard the visiting teams have come to expect over the past few years.

“Both programs really come together,” Beckman said, speaking of both the girls’ and boys’ basketball teams. “To watch both programs come together as one, it’s great.”

Among those working around the facilities was Michael Gaskill, a soon-to-be sophomore on the East Fairmont basketball team.

His job for the weekend was simple, but rather important: running the clock for one of the courts’ games.

“It’s very important to get the clock right,” Gaskill noted, laughing. “If you don’t, people get mad.”

This year’s tournament is Gaskill’s second go-round with helping and in just the two short years that he’s been along for the ride, he’s seen improvement.

“It’s progressed,” Gaskill said. “It’s a smooth-running tournament.”

The chance to help out the basketball programs is a valuable lesson for the players of all of the teams at East Fairmont, giving them the chance to understand where their hard work goes when the next season comes around.

Gaskill agrees.

“It means a lot to me because this is what funds out booster program for the year,” he said. “This is what gets us our new practice gear and stuff like that.”

While Gaskill and others work at the various locations to secure some funds for the next season, they aren’t the only ones reaping the benefits of the tournament. The players are able to see top-notch competition from not only West Virginia but surrounding states such as Ohio and Pennsylvania.

In one of the girls’ championships, a team featuring several players from Morgantown’s state championship team was pitted against a team featuring players from Parkersburg South, which Morgantown defeated in the Class AAA state championship.

“I think it’s great,” said first-year Morgantown coach Jason White, who was there supporting members of his varsity team. “It’s a tournament that’s 15-20 minutes down the road for us locally. You usually don’t get to see this number of teams in this area. It’s nice for us to be able to come and compete.”

While the tournament wrapped up, Beckman was confident that the two programs had raised a fair amount of funds, but seeing the hard work and dedication of those working was what meant the most to the first-year girls’ coach.

“It went really well. Very smooth. It was a great atmosphere all weekend. This is something they all take pride in,” he said. “It’s not just about the basketball programs. This is an East Fairmont community tournament. It was great to see so many people come out.”

Email Matt Welch at mwelch@timeswv.com or follow on Twitter @MattWelch_TWV.

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