Lynn Classical’s Jeylly Medrano puts up a shot during the 27th Paul Duchane Girls Basketball Jamboree back in 2019. (Item File Photo)

Paul Duchane Girls Basketball Jamboree set to return for 28th edition

After a year away due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 28th annual Paul Duchane Girls Basketball Jamboree returns to the court at Lynn Classical High School  Saturday, Dec. 11.

"It's incredibly exciting to be back out on the court after being away last year," said Classical girls basketball coach Tom Sawyer, who has been the director of the jamboree for the past 16 years. "We have 18 teams, a full slate of games and a ton of exciting players and coaches, so things are really starting to feel like normal."

The jamboree is named for Paul Duchane, a popular Lynn football coach who collapsed at halftime of a football game he was coaching for Matignon High School against Bishop Fenwick in 1989. He also was an assistant coach at Lynn Classical and for the Crusaders, and was head coach at Lynn English for a time as well.

It not only serves as a way to keep Duchane's memory alive, but it's also a scholarship fundraiser, with the proceeds going to Classical seniors at the end of the year. 

"It's obviously really important to keep Paul's memory alive because of all he did, not only for Lynn schools but for a lot of schools," said Sawyer.

As far as the basketball side of things is concerned, the format will be just like other years — 18 teams playing across nine games that will run 40 minutes each. The games will be set up just like regular season affairs, complete with referees, crowds, scorekeepers, gameday uniforms and the like.

"I think the thing that I and a lot of the other coaches who participate love about it is that it's truly a dress rehearsal for the season," said Sawyer. "You have all the elements of a regular season game, but you can still work with a lot of players and kind of structure things in a way where you get a lot out of it."

The 18 teams that make up this year's field come from the Northeastern Conference, the Cape Ann League and the Greater Boston League. Sawyer says having so many teams that return year after year is great for everyone, and it doesn't hurt getting an early look at this season's competition.

"We're incredibly grateful for all of the teams that continue coming to participate each year," said Sawyer. "It's a great way to see old friends and enjoy the return of basketball while also getting a lot of work done on the eve of the regular season."

The 28th annual Paul Duchane Girls Basketball Jamboree will begin at 2 p.m., and the schedule is as follows: 

— North Reading vs. Melrose (2)

— Medford vs. Swampscott (2:40)

— Marblehead vs. Georgetown (3:20)

— Somerville vs. Saugus (4)

— Danvers vs. Triton (4:40)

— Malden vs. Peabody (5:20)

— Billerica vs. St. Mary's (6)

— Lynn English vs. Bishop Fenwick (6:40)

— Lynn Classical vs. Hamilton-Wenham (7:20)

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