Tourney Host

By: Jason Davis
By: Jason Davis

A little hospitality goes a long way, and it may be the secret to Marianna successfully bringing in the State Junior College Basketball Tournament for the past 10 years.

This makes Marianna's tenth year hosting the State Junior College Basketball Tournament and some say it's the city's southern charm that's kept the event here for so long.

Roonie Scovel GCCC head coach, says, "The people in Marianna are so kind and so hospitable; this is a real special place to have a basketball tournament."

Gulf Coast Community College is just one of many teams that made their way to Jackson County for this year's tourney, and just like all 16 teams, they've been matched with a volunteer from the community to make their life a little easier.

John Ellerbee, team host, says, "We help the team with their meals, with their practice time and avoid any distractions to the team because the coaches and the team come here to play basketball and win a state championship. It's our job to make their stay here as painless as possible and be as helpful as we can."

Merle Houston is considered to be a veteran team host.

Merle says, “I've been doing this since the tournament started at Chipola and I've hosted Gulf Coast every year. They're just sort of my children."

Alison Mailloux says, “She comes and checks in with us all the time just to make sure everything's alright. She keeps up with us and always ask if she's okay or if we anything she very nice."

There's no place like home, or in this case this case there is no place like Marianna. The tournament is expected to put over a quarter of a million dollars into Jackson County's economy over the next four days.


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