Claflin University’s basketball rivarly with the South Carolina State University Bulldogs will continue with the Garden City Classic doubleheader on Nov. 9 starting at 6 p.m. at the University’s Jonas T. Kennedy Health and Physical Education Center.
The institutions’ athletic directors were joined by their men’s and women’s basketball coaches in making a formal announcement about the Classic on Monday.
“Make no mistake about it – this is a rivarly,” said Claflin Athletics Director Dr. Jerome Fitch. “But a friendly one.”
The Garden City Basketball Classic was first played during the 1987-88 school year. The event began after interested alumni and supporters from both school presented a proposal to the schools’ administrators, who subsequently approved it.
The Classic endured for 10 years and generated a great deal of enthusiasm from both institutions and the community. The men’s squads met all 10 seasons – 1987-88 through 1996-97 – while the women played every year except the 1990-91 campaign. The Lady Panthers won seven of nine meetings between the women’s squads while SCSU men were victorious in five of the 10 games. Last year, the Bulldogs won both contests in the renewal of the Classic.
Men’s Head Basketball Coach Ron Woodard said his players are thirsty for more victories this season. He said his players did military-style physical and mental preparation at Ft. Jackson during the offseason to get ready for the 2012-2013 campaign.
“Practice has been great,” said Woodard. “The camaraderie on the team is just outstanding.”
President Dr. Henry N. Tisdale said the two neighboring schools are complimentary to each other and often collaborate on several fronts, citing the Classic as one example.
“I have no doubt this game will bring excitement to the students, alumni and the Orangeburg community,” said Tisdale.
Tickets for the event will go on sale on Nov. 2 and can be purchased online. For more information, contact Dr. Lionell Sabb at 803-535-5548.