Annual Nutmeg Holiday Basketball Festival returns


MIDDLETOWN, Conn. (WTNH) — A holiday tradition is back on this week, after taking last year off.

While players could be relaxing on the couch during Christmas break, instead they are hitting the hardwood for the eighth annual Nutmeg Holiday Basketball Festival and making up for the fact that they couldn’t play last year.

The Nutmeg Games involves travel teams with kids in 4th to 8th grade who come from all over Connecticut, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire.

“It’s just a great competition for kids right after the Christmas break, and it provides them with an opportunity to get out and play a little bit with teams they don’t normally see in their conference,” Patrick Fisher, the executive director of Connecticut Sports Management Group and the event organizer said.

Last year, however, this tournament had to be called off.

“It was frustrating because my girls had to sit for two months, I think it was,” Ernestine Faienza said. “There was a pause. We couldn’t re-start basketball until I think it was Jan. 19.”

For her New Britain team, this tournament is an important chance to hone skills against players from all over. Without it last year, she saw a difference.

“The passion was still there, which was great, but they definitely were out of shape and rusty when we started back up,” Faienza said.

While they can play again, worries over the fast-spreading omicron variant mean everyone on and off the court has to wear a mask. It’s not ideal for players.

“Yes, it makes a big difference. It’s harder to breathe when I play,” Jaxieo Rivera, a 14-year-old on the Southington team said.

The masks are something the athletes are willing to put up with to do what they love.

“I gain a lot of confidence, in myself and for everything else I do other than basketball, and to work together as a team,” Rivera said. “Even if it’s not basketball, even if I’m doing a school project or something, I learn how to work like a team.”

This is exactly why it is so important to keep these athletes playing, as long as they can do it safely. This particular tournament started Monday and will wrap up Wednesday

Copyright 2022 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

High School Game of the Week

Trending Stories

2021 UConn Men’s Basketball Schedule

2021 UConn Men’s Basketball
Date Opponent Time TV
9/9 @Central Connecticut 6:30pm FS1%
9/13 @ Coppin State Noon FS2
9/17 @ Long Island 6:30pm FS2
9/20 @ Binghamton non FS2
9/24 vs. Auburn 2:30pm ESPN
9/25 vs. Michigan State/Loyola-Chicago TBD ESPN/ ESPN2
9/26 vs. TBD TBD TBD
9/30 @ Maryland-Eastern Shore 7:00pm CBS SN
12/4 @ Grambling State 4:00pm FS2
12/8 @West Virginia TBD TBD
12/11 vs. St. Bonaventure 3:30pm ESPN2
12/18 @ Providence 5:00pm FOX
12/21 @ Marquette 9:00pm FS1
12/28 @ Xavier 7:00pm FS1
1/1 vs. Butler 4:00pm FS1
1/8 @ Seton Hall Noon FOX
1/12 vs. St. John’s 8:30pm FS1
1/15 @ Providence 2:00pm FS1
1/20 @ Butler 9:00pm FS1
1/25 @ Georgetown 8:30pm CBS SN
1/29 @ DePaul 6:30pm FS1
2/1 vs. Creighton 6:30pm FS1
2/5 @ Villanova Noon FOX
2/8 vs. Marquette 6:30pm FS1
2/13 @ St. John’s Noon FOX
2/16 vs. Seton Hall 8:30pm CBS SN
2/19 vs. Xavier noon FOX
2/22 vs. Villanova 8:00pm FS1
2/27 @ Georgetown Noon CBS
3/2 @ Creighton 8:30pm FS1
3/5 vs. DePaul TBD TBD

Don't Miss

More Don't Miss