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The Deer Park Community

DP basketball, Education Foundation set for major tournament

Written by Bobby Vasquez. Posted in Community

basketballsIN OUR COMMUNITY
One of the nation’s biggest and well-known high school basketball tournaments tips off next month across 10 gyms in Deer Park and Pasadena. The McDonald’s Texas Invitational Basketball Tournament lures some of the state’s top basketball teams and talents to the area for the three-day tournament. Tickets go on sale Nov. 1.

TXInvitBballTourneyThe McDonald’s Texas Invitational Basketball Tournament returns Nov. 16-18 through Saturday at 10 locations throughout Deer Park and Pasadena. The tournament benefits the education foundations of both school districts.

This year’s tournament features 80 boys and girls basketball teams from across the state, including the two Deer Park varsity programs. All five Pasadena schools and La Porte also appear in the boys bracket while the Lady Deer are joined by the five Pasadena programs on their side.

“More often than not, the eventual state champion got its start this season in our tournament. The line-up this year again includes some of the top teams and best players in the state,” said Kirk Lewis, tournament director.

The Texas Invitational is one of the largest fundraisers for the Deer Park Education Foundation.

“The tournament is such a big part of what we do,” said Jennifer Torres, Deer Park Education Foundation Director. “All of the proceeds from the tournament go to teacher grants, which support different projects throughout the district that would otherwise go unfunded.”

Torres said those funds come from ticket sales, sponsorships, T-shirt sales and other donations made during the tournament. The Pasadena and Deer Park Foundations split the funds from the Texas Invitational.

“Since the tournament’s inception in 2003, more than $2.0 million has been raised to support our students. That’s what it’s all about...making a difference in the lives of our children and young people,” said Lewis.

This is the seventh year for the Deer Park Education Foundation to participate in the tournament. Last year, DPEF received $48,000 in proceeds for the Teacher Grant Program and more than $300,000 since joining the tournament in 2011.

“It’s a great partnership we have with our neighbors with the Pasadena Foundation,” she said. “It’s a year-long group effort.”

Behind the scenes, more than 400 volunteers cooperate to ensure the tournament runs as smoothly as possible, Torres said.

“There’s a lot of work that goes into this. We have volunteers who do everything from helping the out of town teams get hotels, coordinating security, sales, hospitality; the chambers of commerce step up for help. It’s amazing how smoothly this runs,” said Torres.

More information on the tournament is available at www.texasinvitational.com