March Madness isn’t just about high school or college basketball. It’s also about the 11th annual B.J. Gonzales Tournament, to be held Friday through Sunday at Gillie Lopez Gym.
Spectators are welcome.
The tournament is a 12-team double-elimination format bracket and brings to town some of the most competitive recreational hoops available in the region.
Proceeds from the tourney’s entry fees and gate admissions go toward a good cause, too — the B.J. Gonzales Memorial Scholarship Fund used to sponsor college scholarships for students from West Las Vegas and Pecos high schools, where the late B.J. Gonzales attended.
Admission is $3 adults and $2 students.
Games begin 6 p.m. Friday, 9 a.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. Sunday.
In addition to tournament games, there will be a three-point shooting contest for youth (ages 8-13) and adult (14 and older) competitors. For a $10 entry fee, shooters can vie for the championship plaque and T-shirt honoring the winners.
Sena Electric sponsors the shootout, which starts at 2 on Sunday.
A concession stand featuring snacks and commemorative T-shirts will be open.
“It’s been pretty amazing what it’s become,” said Benedict Gonzales, who started the tourney as a way to honor his son, killed in a car crash in the early 2000s. “It’s almost hard to believe. It took on a life of its own. It’s God-driven, like something given to us to help the family heal.”
“It is something that helps keep my son’s memory alive. But it’s way beyond anything we ever expected.”
Gonzales estimated that the tournament has generated $47,000 in scholarships since its inception 10 years ago.
Among the participating teams are current and former college-level players and prep standouts. This year a number of players are coming from Albuquerque to play.