For the second straight season, Delaware’s host showcase, the Eberst Classic, will be all about the Pacers.
What was once an event pitting a handful of area varsity squads against each other is now formatted to highlight the Hayes boys basketball program as a whole.
“It was actually (Athletic Director) Steve (Glesenkamp’s) idea on the changing of the format,” Hayes coach Jordan Blackburn said. “He thought it would be great to showcase all of our Junior Pacer teams, which is a program we started seven years ago after my first year as the head coach in an effort to build a foundation of consistent skill sets and winning teams.”
The event, slated for Wednesday at the high school, will start with the third grade Junior Pacers taking the floor at 8:30 a.m. Fourth grade will play at 9:45, fifth grade black at 11, fifth grade orange at 12:15 p.m., sixth grade black at 1:30 and sixth grade orange will follow at 2:45.
The high school guys will take over after that, with the freshman, JV and varsity squads hooking up with Mount Vernon with respective tip times of 4:30, 6 and 7:30 p.m.
The event has changed a bit structurally over recent years, but symbolically it’s still about one thing: honoring long-time Pacer coach Larry Eberst, who passed away unexpectedly following an experimental aircraft malfunction in 2009.
“As for Larry, I still think about him frequently and we enjoy seeing his family at the games,” Blackburn said. “I hope he would be proud of the steps the program has taken over the past eight years. We sure have had a lot of kids work their tails off. This classic is a way to acknowledge and remember what he stood for as a man, dad, teacher and coach.”
Follow Ben Stroup on Twitter @delgazette_ben.