By Joyce Erekson
It’s time to button up Manning Field and bring the show inside.
The high school basketball season unofficially kicks off this weekend with the 30th annual Dr. Elmo Benedetto Boys Basketball Jamboree Friday at English High and the 23rd annual Paul Duchane Girls Basketball Jamboree Saturday at Classical High.
The Benedetto jamboree will begin at 4 p.m. with Swampscott vs. Lynn Tech. The schedule continues with Winthrop vs. Pope John (4:40 p.m.); Marblehead vs. Saugus (5:10 p.m.); Classical vs. Bishop Fenwick (5:50 p.m.); St. Mary’s vs. Danvers (6:30 p.m.) and English vs. Peabody (7:10 p.m.). Admission is $5.
The Duchane jamboree features eight games with Saugus vs. Georgetown kicking things off 2:30 p.m., followed by Swampscott vs. Medford, 3:10 p.m.; Danvers vs. Somerville, 3:50 p.m.: Marblehead vs. Hamilton-Wenham, 4:30 p.m.; Peabody vs. Bishop Fenwick, 5:10 p.m.; Revere vs. Masconomet, 5:50 p.m.; English vs. Malden, 6:30 p.m. and Classical vs. Reading, 7:10 p.m.
Classical High girls basketball coach Tom Sawyer runs the Duchane jamboree, which is held in honor of the late Paul Duchane. Duchane, who died in 1989 at the age of 45, was a teacher at Classical High. He coached football at English from 1980 until 1985 and before that, was an assistant football coach at Classical under former coach Bill Wise. He was coaching Matignon when he suffered a fatal heart attack. Duchane was a big supporter of the Classical High girls basketball team and after he died, retired Classical High athletic director Richard Ruth started the jamboree in Duchane’s memory.
“To me the jamboree is a great event to kick off the new season for a number of reasons,” Sawyer said. “It honors the legacy of Paul Duchane while also being a great day of basketball allowing 16 local area teams to play in a game-like atmosphere. In addition, it is a scholarship fundraiser. The jamboree is a terrific event for players, coaches and fans.”
The Benedetto Jamboree was started 30 years ago by former English High boys basketball (and baseball) coach Ron Bennett. Benedetto, who was Lynn’s athletic director, died in 1984. Bennett was a student of Benedetto’s and saw how hard the former athletic director worked to get athletes from all the city schools into colleges. The jamboree was held at English High for many years, but it now alternates between English and Classical.