March Madness Basketball Tourney Returns To Wellington

Action from one of the many games which took place March 6-7 during the March Madness youth basketball tournament.

Over the weekend of Saturday, March 6 and Sunday, March 7, the Wellington Wolves travel basketball organization and U.S. Amateur Basketball co-hosted the annual March Madness tournament based out of the Wellington Recreation Center for the 18th year in a row.

The event is now so big that gyms in the neighboring communities of Lake Worth, Palm Springs and Boynton Beach had to be used to play the games. In all, 15 basketball courts were needed to stage the tournament. Other venues in Wellington hosting games included Wellington High School, Palm Beach Central High School, Emerald Cove Middle School, Polo Park Middle School and the Wellington Boys & Girls Club.

The numbers associated with this tournament are eye-opening: 202 games, 97 teams and 75 referees from the East Coast Basketball Officials Association.

According to event coordinator Chris Fratalia, 57 of the 97 teams came from North Florida. And for the first time in the history of the event, there was a team from outside the state playing in the tournament.

“This year, we had a team from the State of Maine,” Fratalia said. “It was a ninth grade girls team called Coastal Thunder. They enjoyed the competition and the weather.”

The ages of the players ranged from third grade through the 11th grade for boys and seventh grade through ninth grade for girls.