Grace College is rolling out the red carpet Saturday for some of the best high school basketball teams in Indiana, and, this year, from north of the state line.

The Champions of Character Classic offers area basketball fans six games starting at noon and ending around 10 p.m.

Tickets are being sold in sessions. Admission is $10 per session, with three games in a session.

Session 1 begins with a noon-time start for Columbia City vs FW Wayne, followed at 1:30 by Snider vs Merrillville and a 3:00 start for Central Noble vs Woodlan.

Session 2 rolls at 4:45 with Blackhawk Christian vs Chelsea (Mich.), at 6:15 it’s Chesterton vs Homestead and at 7:45 FW North Side vs Warsaw.

Let’s break this down a little bit.

Columbia City is ramping up. They were much improved last season and there is some optimism not only about this season but what’s coming in the pipeline.

FW Wayne and Snider always bring a special energy to any game they play in, Merrillville finished strong last season and is off to a very good start this season and Blackhawk is a top-five team in Class 2A despite losing Mr. Basketball Caleb Furst and current Grace Lancer star Frankie Davidson to graduation.

Blackhawk is playing Chelsea High School, a school located west of Ann Arbor, Michigan.

That game marks the return of former Warsaw Tiger and Spring Arbor Cougar Paul Marandet to Kosciusko County. Marandet is an assistant coach on the Chelsea squad, and is destined to be a head coach of a team at some level someday—sooner rather than later.

Chesterton takes on perennial 4A North contender Homestead and Mr. Basketball candidate Fletcher Loyer, and the day wraps up with Warsaw and FW North Side.

It’s a star-studded day filled with top-shelf teams and players, and it will be worth the price of admission.

How do I know this? Because Grace is hosting it, that’s how.

It starts with the venue.

The MOCC has become the epicenter for basketball in Northern Indiana.

The NCCAA loves having events at Grace College so much that they put the men’s and women’s national basketball finals there every year, and there is no hint of moving it any time soon.

It’s big-arena feel coupled with intimate atmosphere and perfect sightlines making it fun for fans and players alike.

Then there is the host.

Athletic Director Chad Briscoe knows how to put on a good show and show people a good time.

He also reminds everyone who attends to play or watch that the title “Champions of Character” is not just a catchy phrase to make us feel good during the holidays. One player from each team in each game receives recognition from their school for their character and integrity.

That is what it’s supposed to be about, right?

And, sure, it’s a great recruiting tool for Grace College—good for them! There isn’t a thing wrong with that. They worked with the orthopedic companies to help clean up a toxic waste dump and turn it into a jewel in Northern Indiana—not only for sporting events but for concerts and just about anything else you want to do in there.

Admission is $10 per session. $10 may sound like a lot, but think about it—you’re getting three varsity basketball games for that. Depending on where you go, you’re looking at $15-$18 at the normal game rate. It’s a pretty good value at a pretty terrific venue with some of the best teams in Northern Indiana (and Michigan) on display.

Do not miss this opportunity.