Salvation Army prepares for annual memorial basketball tournament

A local charity is preparing for its annual youth basketball tournament this week.

Springfield’s Salvation Army will host its seventh annual Jr. Spradlin Memorial Youth Basketball tournament at 10 a.m. Oct. 27 at the organization’s Plum Street location. The tournament features teams of three people playing against each other.

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The tournament — which teams must register for by Oct. 24 — is something the Salvation Army is excited to host for the kids of Clark County, said Ryan Ray, development director of the Salvation Army of Springfield. The tournament’s winners will receive a trophy, a shirt and a new Nike gym bag, Ray said.

“Sometimes in Springfield we hear there’s nothing for kids to do,” Ray said. “This is something very positive, very affordable and something they’re going to walk away from lifted up and built up and encouraged by. That’s what we attempt to do with this kind of thing.”

The tournament will also offer a special 12 p.m. halftime show featuring Chicago hip-hop artist Canon.

His “Loose Canon Vol. 2” reached No. 101 on Billboard’s Top 200 and he has a new album releasing in October, according to the Salvation Army. Everyone who participates in the tournament will receive a copy of Canon’s new album for free.

Artist Derek Minor will also perform, according to the Salvation Army.

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The tournament honors Jr. Spradlin, who in 1962 co-founded Spradlin Brothers Welding with his brother Samuel. Spradlin was a big fan of basketball, and Ray said “Springfield loves basketball.”

Ray, who is a basketball fan himself, said he first came up with the idea for a tournament after seeing something similar in Boston. The tournament has since grown from around 10 teams to 26 teams last year, he said.

“It’s one of those things that I grew up doing here in Springfield,” Ray said “My brother and I tried to find every and any court to play at. We would play in the snow if we had to.


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