Donell Woods Tournament schedule
First round games by location:
Bradwell Institute gym
• 11:15 a.m., girls, Johnson vs. Bradwell
• 12:30 p.m., boys, Glynn Academy vs. Bradwell
Snelson-Golden Middle School gym
• 10 a.m., girls, Woodville-Tompkins vs. Liberty County
• 11:15 a.m., girls, New Hampstead vs. Glynn.
• 12:30 p.m., boys, Johnson vs. Coffee
• Bracket play continues and is determined by winners and losers of each game at 1:45 and
3 p.m. at each gym. At 4:15 p.m., Bradwell will host the boys’ championship game. At 5:30 p.m., Bradwell will host the girls’ championship game.
The 23rd annual Donell Woods Memorial Basketball Tournament tips off Saturday morning and will feature some of the area’s best ninth-grade and junior-varsity squads. This year, the tournament will be played at Bradwell Institute and Snelson-Golden Middle School.
The tournament is named after Donell Woods who was a 1957 graduate of the original Liberty County High. Woods coached football at his alma mater from 1962 to 1972, when schools in the county were integrated. He then served as an assistant football coach and head basketball coach at Bradwell from 1972 until his death from lung cancer in 1980.
Woods won the Hinesville Officials Association’s Official of the Year award and was twice named Coach of the Year by the Georgia Athletic Coaches Association. Woods is also a Liberty County Athletic Hall of Fame inductee. He was honored posthumously by having the new football stadium at the new LCHS named after him.
The Donell Woods Memorial Basketball Tournament was created in the early 1990s by then BI basketball coach Willie Graham as a way to keep Woods’ legacy alive for future athletes.
For nearly the past two decades, the tournament tradition has been kept alive by current Lady Tiger coach Faye Baker.
“Donell Woods was my cousin,” Baker said, noting that she is entering her 21st year as a high school basketball coach. “It is important to continue the tournament because it keeps his legacy alive and allows the sub-varsity teams to play in a tournament-style atmosphere.”
Throughout the years, Baker has said that being able to provide the ninth grade and junior-varsity teams the experience of playing in a tournament is important to their development as players.
Those teams rarely get the spotlight, but by the end of Saturday, a girls’ team and a boys’ team will be crowned as champions within their divisions, earning local bragging rights.
Baker said Woods was the boys’ basketball coach when she was just a student at Bradwell. She admired the way he connected with the youth.
“I admired the rapport he had with students and his concern for the youth of Liberty County,” she said.
Teams representing Camden County, Johnson, Glynn Academy, Statesboro, Bradwell, Woodville-Tompkins, New Hampstead, Liberty County and Coffee are scheduled to play throughout the day.
For the viewing public the admission is free.