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Eastern Greene to host girls holiday tournamentPosted Friday, November 14, 2008, at 5:31 PM
Although the new gymnasium at Eastern Greene High School has been in use through the volleyball season, it will be "officially" christened on Friday, Nov. 21 when the Lady Thunderbirds host Bedford North Lawrence in a girls basketball game.
Andy Igel's team will start an new era of Eastern Greene boys hoops when they entertain Owen Valley on Tuesday, Nov. 25.
"It is a beautiful facility," Igel said of the 3,000 seat gym that will play host to the Class 2A boys basketball sectional in 2009 and beyond rotating with North Knox under the current alignment. "It is not only going to be great for the players and fans, but we also think it will be enjoyable for our opponents.
"But hopefully not too enjoyable."
One of the most interesting things about the new building is that it will play host the inaugural Lady Thunderbird Holiday Tournament Monday, Dec. 29 and Tuesday, Dec. 30.
Indianapolis Bishop Chatard, Edgewood, South Knox, Indianapolis Arlington, Owen Valley, Hauser and Forest Park will join the Lady Thunderbirds in the eight-team field.
This will replace the tournament in Bismark, Ill. that Eastern Greene went to the past couple of seasons.
"We are really looking forward to hosting the tournament," said Eastern Greene girls basketball coach Dan Fidago. "We had to change our schedule around, dropping Owen Valley, Edgewood and South Knox because they are in the tournament.
"We are very excited to have a new home like this and the tournament will give us a chance to showcase our new gym."
Games also will be played in the old home of the Thunderbirds, Toby Yoho Gymnasium.
Each team will be guaranteed four games, with the exception of Chatard and Edgewood, who only wanted to play three games.
The opening round games including Class 2A Sectional foes South Knox and EGHS playing. Arlington and Owen Valley will play as well as Hauser against Forest Park, who has won 16, 19, 13 and 15 games in each of the past four seasons.
Chatard will play the loser of the SK-EGHS contest while Edgewood will meet the winner of that first-round game.
"We think we really have put something pretty special together," said Fidago. "It will be a good test to play four games in two days. Playing five games in three days at the tournament in Illinois last year really helped us during our run to the regional championship game."
Fidago said that he hopes the tourney field can double.
"We would love to be able turn this into a 16-team tournament," said Fidago. "We have some very good teams in this tournament and we believe it can only get better from here.
"The facilities are new and first rate. We are hoping that everybody will walk out of here saying it was a good experience for their players, fans and their team."
Eastern Greene center Kaci Helms said she is looking forward to playing in the new building, but can't help but think about the cramp and dark Toby Yoho Gymnasium they left behind.
"I really miss that place," she said. "There was something special about playing over there."
Igel said that TYG had its own personality and character, and that it is going to take some time for that to happen in the new digs.
"We are very excited about the new gym," he said. "But there are things that we are going to miss.
"It is going to be interesting to see what kind of character and personality the new place takes on. We are hoping that will become a very tough place for teams to come into."
B.J. Hargis is sports editor at the Greene County Daily World. He can be reached at (812) 847-4487, ext. 12 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.