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KADENA AIR BASE, Okinawa — Martin Luther King Jr. weekend will see a Pacific-wide interservice basketball tournament after all: Kadena’s 18th Services will host its second Kadena Basketball Klassic tournament Jan. 14-17.

The Kadena Basketball Klassic had been slated for March. But when troop deployments forced Marine Corps Community Services last month to scrub the Martin Luther King tournament, the Kadena tournament was moved to mid-January.

Informed that two off-island teams had made non-refundable airline reservations for a mid-January trip to Okinawa, MCCS contacted 18th Services sports officials and asked if Kadena could host a tournament.

“We’d love to help out the athletes,” said Risner Fitness and Sports Center director Dawn Pierce, adding that 18th Services is getting “huge support” for varsity athletics, starting with Kadena’s 18th Wing leadership.

“We want to capitalize on our ability to offer this to the community,” Pierce said. “We want to keep basketball at the forefront. We can’t let it slip through the cracks.”

Because of the late notice and because Risner is undergoing renovations, the event will be limited to the first 10 men’s teams to sign up, Pierce said.

The tournament is open to military base- and post-level teams throughout the Pacific. All players must be 18 or older. The entry fee is $200; the entry deadline is Jan. 3.

Officials from 18th Services said they plan to stay in touch with MCCS to see if the Martin Luther King tournament will revive. If it doesn’t, Pierce said, Kadena plans to keep the tournament and expand the field next year.

Call DSN 634-2207 or e-mail Firello White of Falcon Fitness Center at firello.white@kadena.af.mil or Pierce at dawn.pierce@kadena.af.mil for information on the tournament.

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