PENNSBURY >> The newly-formed Falcons Elite Basketball is partnering with the Lady Falcons Elite to celebrate the life of a Pennsbury basketball legend while giving back to the community.
The inaugural Jack Pepper Classic 3 on 3 Tournament hits the court at the Charles Boehm Middle School on April 2 and 3 with proceeds supporting the American Cancer Society.
The event is being organized by four Pennsbury graduates - Jonathan Love, Justin Baxter, Kurt Bergmann and Michael Higgins - who share a common love of basketball and who have more than 50 years of combined coaching experience.
They wanted to honor the memory of their friend, Jack, while introducing Falcons Elite Basketball, a new basketball organization, to the youth of the community.
“We have known the family forever and they are like family to us,” said Love. “We wanted to keep Jack’s memory alive, bring people together for a good cause and play some hoops, which Jack would have enjoyed watching,” said Love. “It’s our way of memorializing Jack and his great family and support a good cause that everyone is aware of and has been affected by in some way, shape or form.
“It’s just a good weekend to share memories of Jack and enjoy some basketball,” adds Love. “He would want that because that’s what his whole life was centered around.”
Pepper was one of the all time great basketball players in the history of not only Pennsbury Basketball, but of Bucks County as a whole.
A 1980 graduate, Pepper left Pennsbury as the school's all time leading scorer. The stories of Jack Pepper's abilities and accomplishments became legend around the area. Many who saw him play considered him the best all around athlete they had ever seen in person.
However, if you were to ask Jack what his greatest accomplishment in life was, he would tell you that it was his wife, Cheryl, and his three boys, Dalton, Brandon and Shawn.
Jack loved his family and loved being a father to his boys (who were all accomplished athletes in their own right) and was present at every sporting event from their youth, all the way through their college days.
Sadly, Pepper, a valued member of the Lower Makefield Township Parks and Recreation Department, succumbed to cancer in December 2020.
“We hope that through this event we can honor a great man and our Pennsbury community can do its part in finding a cure for this terrible disease,” said the organizers.
Team registration for the tournament will be taken up to the day of the event, but early registration is advised with each division limited to 16. The cost is $60 per team with all participants receiving a Jack Pepper Classic T-Shirt.
As of March 22, between 20 and 25 teams had signed up for the tournament, according to Love.
“It’s going to be a great event and a great cause,” said Love. “Anyone can play. We’re just looking to get people out. Players who feel comfortable coming out, that’s great. All the protocols will be in place. We’re limiting it to one parent per child who can come in and watch. All the precautions will be taken. We want players to come out and enjoy the game. And don’t worry about making any buckets. That’s not really what this is all about.”
The event is open to players from third grade through high school. To register and additional information, visit falconelitehoops.com.
For the girls, visit the Lady Falcons Elite website for registration information. Their portion of the tournament will take place on the courts at the Pennsbury middle schools and at Pennsbury High School West.
The Falcons Elite is in the process of forming spring leagues at the Charles Boehm Middle School for third through 12th grade players.
And according to Love, the league will eventually be offering everything from in house to travel for players from kindergarten through high school.
“We literally started about 60 days ago so we are in our infancy stage right now,” said Love.
For more information about the organization and spring league registration information, visit falconelitehoops.com.