U.S. Army Garrison Japan and DODEA-Pacific pair to host Far East basketball tournament
The Zama Middle High School boys basketball teams plays against Okinawa Christian School International Jan 30 during the Department of Defense Education Activity -Pacific Far East Division II Boys Basketball Tournament held at the Yano Fitness Center on Camp Zama. (Photo Credit: Noriko Kudo, U.S. Army Garrison Japan Public Affairs) VIEW ORIGINAL

CAMP ZAMA, Japan – Nine teams from mainland Japan, Okinawa and South Korea battled through the Department of Defense Education Activity-Pacific Far East Division II Boys Basketball Tournament held at the Yano Fitness Center’s gymnasium from Jan. 29 to 31.

Organizers said the tournament was a great success thanks to the teamwork between Zama Middle High School and U.S. Army Garrison Japan’s Yano Fitness Center. The planning, coordination and teamwork were instrumental in making the event run smoothly and successfully.

Lindsay Schmiedel, tournament director, said her role was to coordinate the game schedules, secure lodging for the teams, coordinate transportation logistics and secure facilities for teams to play.

Schmiedel said USAG Japan and the Yano staff had previously fully supported tournaments, so she already knew who to contact and what to ask this year. She said the Garrison eased the process by dedicating two courts for the teams to play a lot of basketball over the three days, setting up essential areas for eating, drinking and resting between games and providing bleachers for spectators.

“All the coaches, players and parents are really happy with the facilities,” said Schmiedel.

Stefan Thompson, Camp Zama’s Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation chief of fitness athletics and aquatics, said that when he was contacted about the tournament, he immediately convened his staff to plan how to accommodate the teams while seamlessly maintaining a mission-essential fitness venue for the Soldiers and the rest of the Army community.

Thompson said although it was somewhat challenging, the long-term relationships and great communication with the school staff allowed him and his team to provide 100 percent support not only to the tournament operation, but for the entire Army community.

“My staff has done a fantastic job,” said Thompson. “In essence, through our relationships and the teamwork, we are able to serve the entire Army community.”