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Annual All Star Basketball Classic...
Jim  Newlon, along with the then Bruce High Sportsmen Club founded the
Western Maryland All-Star Basketball Classic.

The idea was to honor the best senior high school basketball players from
the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia and Western Maryland.  Newlon
and Clem took on the task, of developing the classic, with very little knowledge
of what was to follow.   All they had was a dream and a mountain to climb to
reach it.

Their search began with a petition to the NCAA Rules Committee in Overland Park, Kansas.   At that
time, the NCAA was the governing body of all-star games. After a lengthy wait, the NCAA granted them
a sanction and the Classic was born.

At that time, the biggest and best all-star game in the country was 120 miles away in Pittsburgh. The
Dapper Dan Roundball Classic was the brainchild of Sonny Yacarro, a basketball guru and promoter.
Both Clem and Newlon knew they couldn't compete at that level, but took some ideas from that game
back home to Maryland.  

Many of the other all-star games around the country only featured boys. It was Clem's and Newlon's
idea to honor the girls in a game of their own.  This game is one of the first in the country to showcase
both boys and girls in the same event.

After searching for several months, they located the perfect model for their game - the AVAC Classic in
Ohio. It was a small scale game which attracted junior college and Division II and III prospects.

The showcase was unveiled in Westernport's Bruce High School Gymnasium to a near capacity crowd
and was a hit from the opening tip-off The Western Maryland Boys won the inaugural game by a 103-
85 score. However, the West Virginia Girls took their first game, 56-54.

Throughout the years, the girls' game has been as competitive, if not more so, than the boys' contest.
Many of the stars of the Classic have gone on to play in a variety
colleges around the country.

Jeff Beavers, the first MW of the West Virginia Boys, went on to play at Potomac State College, white
Kip Washington, the 1982 MVP, took his fast break show to Garrett Community College.  J.P.  Karner
went on to play for the legendary Bob Kirk at Allegany Community College. John Smith, from Valley
High School, decided to take his baseball skills to the minor leagues afire being drafted by the
Chicago White Sox in the sixth round in 1989.

The Most Valuable Player of the 1989 game, Jeremy Bodkin, took his talents to Morgantown where he
later played for Gale Catlett at West Virginia University.

There have been some outstanding girls who have graced the basketball court and have gone on to
play college ball. Jenny Hillen, the 1985 MVP from Southern High School, went on to have an
outstanding career at  West Virginia, and then went on to play in the European Leagues. Margie Morris,
who played on that record setting team in 1985, became a Tiger at Towson State University.  

Two of the most exciting players to ever play in the Classic moved on to the Division I level. Christy
Cooper went on to play at West Virginia; and Dawn Sloan played for Chris Weller, one of the most
recognized coaches in women's basketball, at the University of Maryland.

The Classic has only known two homes since its inception back in 1981.   It began at the Bruce High
School Gymnasium and then moved to Frostburg State University Cordt’s Arena, site of today's games.

Since that very first game, the proceeds generated from the Classic have gone to local non-profit and
charitable organizations.  That is still the case, as all proceeds for the matchup today, will benefit the
Frostburg Lions Club, host and promoter of the Classic.  

In 1994, McDonald's Restaurants became the first official sponsor of the game. In 2011 RUSCO
Home Improvements of Cumberland, MD, became the official corporate sponsor of the Classic.  

In 1999 fans were treated to a pair of excellent games. In boy's action, West Virginia bested Maryland
in an overtime thriller, 91-88. Travis DiGruttolo, from Hampshire was the West Virginia MW, while Joey
Langham from Westmar and Ryan Ralqt from Beall were co-MVPs for Maryland.

The West Virginia girls made it a sweep on the afternoon, downing Maryland, 58-55. Amy Rowan of
Frankfort was the West Virginia MVP, while Mt. Savage's Heather Abucevicz and Brooke Brenneman
of Northern shared Maryland MVP honors.

2009 saw Maryland sweep both games of the All Star Classic - MD girls 64-57 in overtime, and the MD
boys 94-90.  

In 2010 West Virginia swept the tournament: with the girls 45-41, and the boys:  104-86.  Moorefied's
Victoria Wright was named co-MVP along with Petersburg's Alicia Webster.  On the Maryland side
Heidi Welch and Emillee Bosley shared MVP honors.

Once again, in 2011, West Virginia swept the tournament.  West Virginia Girls took the game at  54-
53.   West Virginia Boys came in with a score of 104-83.   Bishop Walsh's Richard Mann paced the
Maryland squad with 16 points.  

In 2011 McDonald's withdrew as the corporate sponsor of the games.   RUSCO Home Improvements
of Cumberland, MD, became the corporate sponsor in 2012

From Ricardo Hunter's slam dunks to the magic of Kip Washington to the "Corey Griffin Show" in l99l
to the "Christy Cooper Clinic" in 1989,  the RUSCO - Frostburg Lions Basketball Classic has been one
of the great spectacles in Western Maryland Sports.
Remembering Yesterday
Serving Today   
Planning Tomorrow
Frostburg Lions Club
P.O.Box 371
Frostburg, MD 21532
Tournament Programs 2000 - 2014

By Former Game Announcer: Mark Clem
(With Updates From The Frostburg Lions Club)
P.O.Box 371
Frostburg, MD 21532

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