Beloit Students Participate in the inaugural Fred VanVleet Middle School Christmas Classic
ROCKFORD (WREX) — Some of the top 7th and 8th grade teams from around the area gathered in Rockford before the holidays for the inaugural Fred VanVleet Middle School Christmas Classic this week, and the intensity didn't disappoint.
In the 8th grade championship, Beloit knocked off Eisenhower from Rockford, 49-48. Eisenhower's Amir Danforth, VanVleet's nephew, had a strong game for his team, but Beloit's Amare Armelin got the last shot and made the most of it, tipping in his own miss just before the buzzer sounded.
Having this type of competition will benefit these kids in the long term.
"It is huge," Joe Danforth, one of the tournament organizers, said. "These guys are going to see each other in high school. So instead of being afraid to play each other, we bring the private schools in, we bring the schools in out of area."
Hosea Harris, who helped organize the tournament with Danforth and served as the tournament director, hopes to see the tournament grow from the 14 teams it had this year. With VanVleet's name attached to it, he thinks it could be a big-time tournament for kids in the area every December.
"Having Fred's backing is a blessing," Harris said. "He comes back to Rockford. He gives back to the community and all the kids love it. They hear his name and everybody wants to be a part of it. That's a great thing. Fred's doing a great thing with what he's doing."