A newly-formed Greater Lawrence Christmas Basketball Tourney committee has adopted a series of sweeping changes.
First, make that Commonwealth Motors Christmas Classic Tourney committee. The 39th annual boys tourney and the 26th annual girls tourney have been renamed after new sponsor Commonwealth Motors of Lawrence.
The other changes include:
Moving the tournaments to Merrimack College, where the boys tourney became famous
Dividing the tourneys into an A and a B division
Seeding the teams
Giving out $16,000 in scholarships from Commonwealth Motors — $1,000 to a deserving senior on each of the 16 boys and girls teams
The four boys and girls championship games will be played on the same day at Merrimack
A Twitter feed and a Facebook page will be important new social media tools
The return of a special banquet, which Terry Holland of Stachey’s is catering free of charge. It will be at Relief’s In in Lawrence on Dec. 9.
The Greater Lawrence boys and Lowell girls left the tourneys and will be replaced by the Whittier boys and Westford girls.
The new committee believes the new energy and Commonwealth Motors’ generosity could bring a return to the glory years, when the boys tourney was frequently called the best tourney of its kind in New England.
“I’ve been involved with this since 1983 as a player and this is my 25th year as a coach,” said Andover High boys coach Dave Fazio. “Sometimes change is good. I think it’s great that it’s back at Merrimack. The fans are on top of you. No disrespect to Lawrence High (the host since 2007), which is beautiful, but the fans are so far away. You lose that energy.”
Energy is a word that’s been used a lot with the boys tourney, which many local basketball fans feel has lot a bit of its luster in recent years.