Thanksgiving away from home

By Beau Ebenezer

November 22, 2012 Updated Nov 22, 2012 at 11:50 PM CDT

WASHINGTON Ill -- While many families cooked up a big Thanksgiving turkey and feasted around the dinner table, some had other obligations.

The Greenwood Amanda Elzy basketball team out of Mississippi came to town for the Washington Illinois State Farm Basketball Tournament.

Last year's reigning 4-A Mississippi State Champions traveled over 500 miles for the tournament.

Their first time away for the big holiday.

"It's a great opportunity for my kids to come up and play against different competition from different states. We're having fun, it's a great opportunity like I said and we're a family together on thanksgiving and that's what it is all about," said Greenwood Head Coach, Gerald Glass.

"It's kinda funny because this is my first time doing this. I've been with my family every year on Thanksgiving. So I'm just honored to do this with my basketball team," said junior guard, Maurice Dunlap.

Thanks to the State Farm Tournament Committee and Countryside Banquet in Washington, families players and coaches, didn't get to miss out on the best meal of the year.

"We are a long way from home and we might not of been able to eat a Thanksgiving dinner. So we're very thankful for you all preparing this food for us," said one parent, James Lehaman.

Each player took a turn saying what they were thankful for the most, many stressing the importance of their second family.

"It's our first time doing this in history, so we're just gonna remember this and cherish it," said Dunlap.

While they may be missing out on their usual family tradition, the Greenwood Panthers seem to have a new one to call their own.

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