GREENSBORO SPORTS COUNCIL DISTRIBUTES $80,000 TO 2022 SCHOOLS, ANNOUNCES HAECO INVITATIONAL SCHEDULE CHANGE
GREENSBORO, N.C. – After its very successful move to pre-Christmas dates in 2022, the Greensboro Sports Council donated $80,000 to the eight schools that participated in the 2022 tournament last December, and the HAECO Invitational is adjusting its 2023 schedule, the Council announced today. In addition, the Sports Council donated $10,500 in scholarships and charitable contributions from tournament proceeds.
The $80,000 school donation total averages $10,000 for each of the eight participating schools. In addition to the school contributions, the Council awarded four $2,000 Bill Lee Scholarships, made a $1,500 donation to the Hands for Hearts, in honor of outgoing tournament chair Tyler Key, and made a $1,000 donation to the Corrigan Faircloth Chapter of the National Football Foundation to sponsor a scholarship.
While the charitable component was added in recent years, the HAECO Invitational mission remains raising money for its participating schools as it has been since the tournament was founded as the Little 4 Invitational in 1976. Since 2008, the HAECO Invitational has contributed $1,352,000 to its participating schools including this year’s $80,000 in contributions.
After playing 45 tournaments immediately after Christmas, the 2022 HAECO Invitational was the first played before Christmas, and the move brought increased attendance and the anticipation of celebrating the holidays without interruption. Due to a change in the Guilford County Schools calendar, the Council was forced to adjust its new schedule to accommodate the calendar change with first-round play happening with classes still in session before winter break begins. The 2023 tournament schedule, utilizing two courts, is below:
Tuesday, Dec. 19: Men’s Opening Round at 6 and 7:30 p.m.
Wednesday, Dec. 20: Women’s Opening Round at 6 and 7:30 p.m.
Thursday, Dec. 21: Semifinals and first consolation-round games at 3:30, 5 p.m., 6:30 and 8 p.m.
Friday, Dec. 22: TBD but similar to previous years
“The 47th HAECO Invitational will obviously follow a schedule we’ve never tried before, but I know I speak for the entire Greensboro Sports Council membership when I say we’re thrilled that the tournament can be played this year,” Greensboro Sports Council president Jeff Elliott said. “When we learned the Guilford County Schools schedule change was definite, we looked at many different scenarios, including pausing the tournament or even terminating it, but the HAECO Invitational was created nearly 50 years ago to raise money for our high schools.
“We want to keep doing that so we decided to give this format a try. We understand it will be somewhat challenging to play while school is in session, but we hope having all evening games on the first two days of the tournament will make it easier for fans to attend and increase our attendance. Even with the new four-day format, the tournament will conclude prior to the holidays allowing families to gather without interruption.”
In last year’s HAECO Invitational, tournament newcomer Bishop McGuinness High School defeated Smith High School in the women’s championship game while Greensboro Day School defeated Smith High School in the men’s championship matchup. These three schools, along with Dudley High School, Grimsley High School, Page High School, Ragsdale High School and Southeast Guilford High School return as this year’s participating teams.
The HAECO Invitational is an annual high school basketball tournament in Greensboro, N.C. Founded in 1976 as the Little 4 Invitational, the tournament features men’s and women’s teams representing eight high schools, located in or around Guilford County, playing at the Greensboro Coliseum Complex. Tournament proceeds are donated to local charities and the participating schools; the HAECO Invitational is planned and implemented by the Greensboro Sports Council. For more information, please visit www.HAECOInvitational.com, and follow the event on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter: @HAECOinvit.