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franklin county times

'Tis the tourney season

By Staff
Kim West
FCT Sports Editor
Local schools will close for the Christmas holidays this Friday, but plenty of basketball will be played during the break, which is a traditional time for teams to enter tournaments.
These tournaments give teams the opportunity to play schools they don't normally play against. Ideally, teams will have the opportunity to play in games that feature a higher competition level than their regular season games. This gives coaches an opportunity to gauge their teams' strengths and weaknesses as they prepare for second half of the season.
In high school, football players get to experience Friday nights, homecoming and possibly the state playoffs and a trip to Birmingham's Legion Field for the Super Six.
Rivalry games and league games are an important part of any basketball schedule, but tournaments play a special role in high school basketball.
In addition to the commemorative T-shirts that are typically available, tournaments give teams a chance to come together in a playoff-type setting. Whether it's a tip-off tournament or a regional tourney, teams have the opportunity to play for a championship and hoist a trophy.
I'll never forget playing in basketball tournaments during my senior year at West Limestone. We won the area tournament and advanced to the sub-state finals at Wallace State, which nearly made up for losing to our archrivals, East Limestone, in the county tournament. We also played in a Thankgiving tournament hosted by Lauderdale County – the winningest girls program (eight titles since 1987) in the state – and we were eliminated by Fyffe, which won the 2A title that season, in a Gadsden Christmas tournament.
This week the Russellville and Phil Campbell varsity boys are playing in the TimesDaily Classic, with the first two rounds being played at Deshler and Colbert County. The semifinals tomorrow night and the championship game and skills competitions Friday will be played at the University of North Alabama's Flowers Hall.
Next week, the Belgreen varsity boys and girls will play in the 38th Annual Fayette Lions Club Tournament Dec. 26-28.
The Phil Campbell varsity boys teams will also play in Fayette, while the varsity girls will participate in the Lawrence County Classic Dec. 20-22.
The Red Bay girls will play in Lauderdale County's Northwest Alabama Tournament Dec. 26-29, while the varsity boys will play in the Waterloo Christmas Tournament Dec.27-28.
The Tharptown varsity girls will be in action at the Speake Christmas Tournament Dec. 26-28.
The Russellville varsity boys will play in the WQSB Classic in Boaz on Dec. 26-29.
The Tharptown varsity boys, Vina varsity teams and Russellville varsity girls are not scheduled to play in a Christmas tournament.
College football's bowl season starts tomorrow night with Utah playing Navy in the Poinsettia Bowl. There are 32 bowl games, including the BCS championship game pitting LSU against Ohio State Jan. 7, and most of them aren't exactly compelling.
Several Franklin County teams will be playing on the road in holiday tournaments, so why not take a break from the bowl games and take the family out to see a basketball tournament?
I'm sure it would be more interesting than watching Central Michigan play Purdue in the Motor City Bowl or TCU-Houston in the Texas Bowl.
Kim West is sports editor for The Franklin County Times. She can be reached at kim.west@fct.wpengine.com or (256) 332-1881, ext. 30.

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