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December 25, 2013

PREP BASKETBALL: Tournament cheer abound for many local prep squads

As Christmas trees all around the county begin their journeys back into the basement, it can only mean one thing in the prep basketball world — holiday tournaments.

There certainly aren’t any shortages in that regard, either.

Last year’s inaugural Yule Tide Classic was a jaunting success for those involved in the event played at Wallace State’s Tom Drake Coliseum.

This year shouldn’t be any different, as both Cullman squads — along with Holly Pond’s girls — will head up the 16-team field (eight boys, eight girls) locally.

Bearcat boys coach Bobby Meyer got the ball rolling a year ago and said he expects it to be even better this go-round.

“We had a great assortment of teams last year,” he said. “I think you’ll see the same thing this time, too. People will see  many interesting matchups that you wouldn’t normally get to see during the regular season.”

The Black and Gold will look to defend their boys’ title when they take the court Thursday at 8 p.m. versus Boaz. Other teams in the three-day tournnament include Athens, Dora, Tanner, Arab, Gardendale and Muscle Shoals.

Meanwhile, on the girls’ side, Holly Pond will kick off tourney play with a 9:30 a.m. scrap with Athens. Cullman will finish up its bracket with a 6:30 p.m. game against defending-champion Northridge. Other teams vying for the championship include Gardendale, Hartselle, Brooks and Tanner.

There will also be a 3-point shootout for both brackets.

While the Yule Tide Classic is still in its infancy, West Point’s annual Christmas tournament most certainly is not.

The longstanding holiday classic is comprised of four county squads — West Point, Cold Springs, Good Hope and Fairview — as well as four from out of town — Lawrence County, Priceville, Danville and Brewer. The tourney, per tradition, will be a round-robin format with each county team playing an outside squad all three days of the slugfest.

“Looking forward to it,” West Point coach Randy Jones said. “You get to play teams you don’t normally play and see where everyone stands. And to me, playing three times is a lot better than taking two weeks off and practicing here and there.”

Cold Springs will get things started on Thursday with a 4 p.m. showdown against Lawrence County, followed by Good Hope vs. Brewer at 5:15 p.m., West Point vs. Danville at 6:30 p.m. and Fairview vs. Priceville to close out the opening round at 7:45 p.m.

First-place trophies will be doled out to the Cullman County and non-Cullman County teams with the best record.

In other news, Mitch Morris and his Holly Pond squad will head over to Albertville to compete in the Civitans Christmas Classic beginning at 10 a.m. Thursday. The Broncos will take on Hokes Bluff at 4 p.m. with hopes of improving on last year’s tough 1-2 showing.

Vinemont will take part in Elkmont’s holiday showcase as well, playing Woodville (10:30 a.m.) and Lexington (6:30 p.m.) on Friday, followed by Elkmont (1:30 p.m.) and Clements (8 p.m.) on Saturday.

West Point and Good Hope’s girls will participate in Hayden’s Christmas Classic, where the Warriors face Mortimer Jordan at 5:30 p.m. and the Raiders clash with Guntersville at 8:30 p.m. to round out opening-round action.

Good Hope’s girls are the tourney’s two-time defending champs.

Here’s a look at the local schedule:

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