MANCHESTER, NH – The West Side Winter Classic is an annual basketball tournament held at Parkside Middle School for the city’s three West Side elementary schools: Gossler Park, Parker-Varney and Northwest. The tournament is in its 10th year!
The West Side Winter Classic was created and launched in 2009 by Mike Beaulac. Mike is currently the Assistant Principal at Parker Varney Elementary School as of February 2019 and has been for the past five years.
Mike also has ties to West High School, coaching the JV basketball team for seven seasons and was on the varsity coaching staff with Danny Bryson. (Danny Bryson is now the current head coach for the Memorial Crusaders.) Being a teacher/coach for Parker Varney, coaching at West High and now an AP at Parker Varney, it’s easy to see how much Mike is invested in the community for these three schools.
So let’s break down the Girls bracket first: GM1 bright and early at 8 a.m. was secured by Gossler Park Gators defeating the Eagles, GM2 at 9:30 a.m. was won by the Parker Varney Panthers, thus officially knocking out the Northwest Eagles girls team out of the tournament and ending their 2018-2019 season. GM3 was secured again by the Panthers and since the Eagles went 0-2 on the day, the Championship game was setup to be the Gators vs the Panthers…which was a spectacular one!
The only squad to go undefeated all day, carried by No. 11, she hit key jumpers down the stretch and showed flashes of the clutch gene to secure her team the victory! The Parker Varney Panthers Girls team captured the 2019 Winter Classic Championship and brought the trophy home! Congrats team!
As you’re about to find out, this year was the year for the Panthers! Not only did the girls team win their trophy, so did the boys! Here’s how it broke down: Coming out the gate strong the Northwest Eagle boys team won GM 1 and GM 2 handily against Gossler and Parker Varney. This set up the boys GM3 for the victor to meet the Eagles in the finals at 2pm.
Parker Varney did not upset, it came down to the wire, in the final seconds No. 23 from the Panthers dribbled down the baseline around Gossler’s star player No. 0 and threw up the game winning jumper. Everyone in the building, was hanging on the edge of their sets as the shot swished through the hoop and the buzzer sounded!
Onto the championship, this game also came down to the wire, down 30-27 to the Eagles with 2 minutes left, the Panthers were able to force a turnover and score with .50 seconds left! With no more offense coming from the Eagles, Parker Varney put this one away in a thrilling 32-30 victory! Big congratulations to all of these kids for playing their hearts out this weekend, what a great event for these youngsters!
So to end this amazing article, I have a quote from Mike Beaulac. I asked why did you start this tournament up and only for the West Side schools? Why not the East Side?
He says, “This event is a great way for the kids and families to get to know one another because sooner than later all the kids from the three West Side elementary schools will be joining each other at Parkside for middle school anyway!”
My jaw dropped for not even realizing that! What a genius!