Last week, Duryea helped put together the Cherokee Medical Center Thanksgiving Basketball Tournament at the Gadsden State-Cherokee Arena, which featured eight teams (Piedmont, Hokes Bluff, Gaston, Etowah, Alexandria, Saks, Section and Pinson Valley).
The girls-only tournament helped raise a little over $1,000 for the Cherokee County Historical Museum.
“None of this would have happened without Cherokee Medical Center CEO Patrick Trammell and Gadsden Regional Medical Center Director of Marketing Leslie Harp,” Duryea said. “Those two, along with Gadsden State, partnered to create an opportunity for 99 student athletes. We added several special touches for each of the participants with goodie bags and shirts.
“Our goal was not just to have a basketball tournament. We wanted to be a part of creating a special memory for the student athletes.”
Piedmont won the tournament with a 46-27 victory over Hokes Bluff in the championship game on Saturday.
One question Duryea fielded several times during the tournament’s three days was why there were no Cherokee County teams involved.
“This is a tournament that rotated between Hokes Bluff and Piedmont. The field had already been set,” Duryea said. “(Hokes Bluff) Coach (Jason) Shields and I just happened to be talking, and he noted that the regional field would be a good opportunity to showcase the Gadsden State-Cherokee campus. I agreed and, as a past Chamber of Commerce Chairman, realized that there would be a windfall to our local establishments.
“The board of directors at the museum were in agreement to use it as a fund-raising opportunity. I made the inquiry with Gadsden State and we proceeded from there. When they prepare selections for next year, that will be the prime topic.”
Overall, Duryea is pleased with the tournament’s outcome. He’s hopeful the event will be a lasting one.
“The economic impact is substantial,” he said. “There were eight teams that traveled to Centre on three different days (Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday). We used local vendors for our purchases of supplies, and the Cherokee County Historical Museum was the benefactor of the tournament.
“I received an email on Saturday from one of the coaches letting me know that if they are selected for next year, they plan to spend at least one night in Centre.”
Former Piedmont standout and West Alabama senior strong safety D’Eric Jackson ended his college football career Saturday in the second round of the NCAA Division II playoffs. The Tigers fell to Valdosta State 49-21 to finish the year at 9-4.
Jackson played in 11 games this season. He posted eight solo tackles with five assists and had an interception.
Former Spring Garden basketball standout Tara Mullinax, now a freshman forward at Berry College, is already getting playing time with the Lady Vikings (1-3).
In four games, she’s averaging 9.5 points and 7.2 rebounds. Mullinax scored 21 points (9 of 10 from the free-throw line), pulled down 16 rebounds and had an assist in a 103-99 win over LaGrange, Ga. on Saturday.