Holidays offer plenty of high school hoops
By By Rocky Higginbotham/The Meridian Star
Dec. 24, 2000
It may be Christmas, but that won't stop a host of area high school basketball teams from taking the court this week.
While some of the area's student-athletes are enjoying a little time off from school, nearly two dozen area teams will crank it up in local tournaments this week.
East Central Community College, Philadelphia High and Choctaw Central all play host to tournaments this week, while Meridian High's boys and Neshoba Central's girls head out of state for tourney action.
No one plays until Wednesday, when all three local tournaments crank up.
Here's a brief rundown of each of the events:
At East Central, a total of 19 teams (10 girls and nine boys) gather for the annual MPSA Central Mississippi Classic.
Every team is guaranteed at least two games in the four-day tournament, which will be held at Decatur's Brackeen-Wood Gymnasium.
Action begins Wednesday at 11:30 a.m. with a girls' contest between Newton County Academy and Sylva-Bay. It's the first of three girls' contests on the day, with Kemper Academy taking on University Christian at 2:30 p.m., Lamar School facing Central Academy at 4 p.m. and Indianola Academy meeting Winston Academy at 7 p.m.
Wednesday's boys' contests have Sylva-Bay and Newton County Academy tangling at 1 p.m., Leake Academy taking on Kemper Academy at 5:30 p.m. and Indianola Academy meeting Winston Academy at 8:30 p.m.
Jackson's Prep defending champion boys got a bye, while Lamar School and University Christian are the other boys' entries and will meet Thursday at 5:30 p.m.
Girls' teams which got byes include two-time defending champ Leake Academy and top-ranked Jackson Prep.
Saturday's action, which begins at 1 p.m., includes girls' and boys' games for fifth place and third place, as well as the championships at 7 p.m. and 8:30.
At Philadelphia, eight boys' teams will converge on Philly High for an interesting bracket that gives every team a guaranteed three games.
Action begins Wednesday at 2 p.m. with Louisville taking on Newton High, followed by Union and Kemper County at 3:15 p.m. Ackerman meets West Jones at 4:30 p.m., while host Philadelphia takes on Edinburg at 6 p.m.
Thursday's action has the two losers' bracket games at 2 p.m. and 3:15, with the semifinals slated for 4:30 and 6 p.m.
The tourney concludes Friday with the seventh-place game at 2 p.m., followed by the fifth-place game at 3:15, the third-place game at 4:30 and the championship game at 6 p.m.
At Choctaw Central, the Warriors and Lady Warriors play host to three other Native American schools in the Indian Country Classic.
Choctaw Central, Cherokee, N.C., Broken Bow, Okla., and Idabel, Okla., make up the four-school boys' and girls' fields.
Lady Warriors' head man Willis Tullos said the teams will play a round-robin format on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, although the two Oklahoma rivals will not play each other.
Meridian High's boys head to Poplar Bluff, Ark., for an eight-team event similar to the one going on at Philadelphia: Every team is guaranteed three games.
The Wildcats open action at 4 p.m. Wednesday against Sikeston, Mo., and will play either University Heights, Kent., or Vashon, Ark., Thursday at a time to be determined.
The tournament wraps up Friday and also includes Springfield, Ill., McLain, Okla., North Little Rock, Ark. and host Poplar Bluff.
Neshoba Central's girls head to Greenville, Tenn., for the Greene County Ladies Classic this week.
Bill Smith and the Lady Rockets take on North Greene, Tenn., Wednesday in the first round of the 16-team, double-elimination event.
Other area teams in action this week include the Newton High girls, who will be in the Hattiesburg Tournament that begins Thursday; as well as Bay Springs and Heidelberg, which will participate in the Bay Springs Round Robin Thursday, Friday and Saturday.