BY JURRY TAALIB-DEEN
Journal Staff Writer
By invitation only, 12 basketball teams were the first to play in, what organizers call, Toledo’s holiday classic, the Ben E. Williams Basketball Invitational, held on December 28, at Scott High School, 2400 Collingwood Blvd.
Coach Williams, coached, and taught at Scott High School for 24 years. Within in those years, his teams won countless city and district league titles. His 1989/90 team won the state title, earning them the number 1 ranking in the state of Ohio, and the number 8 ranked team in the country.
Those who attended the holiday event watched seven games for the price of one. Those matches included, the Early Bird Basketball vs The Celtics, King Cougars vs Ollie Nicole, two junior high games that pitted the feeder schools of Scott and Rogers against Lima West and Lima South, a Special Olympics game, and the two featured games of St. Francis vs Bedford and Scott vs Dayton Meadowdale.
Following each game, Coach Williams would present both teams with trophies; the larger one going to the victor of that particular game.
Dr. Carnel Smith, a member of the organizing committee, and a former student, and basketball player under Coach Williams’ tut ledge, told The Toledo Journal, “Holding this event which bears the name of Coach Williams, was long overdue. This event which, all proceeds made goes to Scott’s athletic department, is a testament to his humanitarian spirit. And what better way to give back to the community, as Coach Williams did for so many years, then through the sport of basketball.”
Leah Williams, the daughter of Coach Williams, as well as one of the organizers told The Toledo Journal that her father was honored and “Ecstatic,” about the event.
“What I want people to leave with today is a feeling of community pride about the school, and the quality of young men and women who graduated over the years. And I want them to know my father, along with so many others, were a part of that success.”
“I’m just thankful that I’ve been able to be affiliated with Scott, and all the programs that were created to assist the kids here, at the school, as well as within the central city,” Coach Williams said.
He ended by saying, “The success of this event, and many others over the years, as well as the individual successes of the students, are a testament, and a counter to all the false, and negative stereotypes that many people, and entities have tried to attach to the school.”