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Fans have plenty of holiday hoopsPosted Tuesday, December 23, 2008, at 4:37 PM
Fans of Indiana high school basketball will have no shortage of diversions this holiday season as boys and girls tournaments will take center stage over the next couple of weeks.
The EGHS girls will play host to seven teams in the inaugural Eastern Greene Holiday Tournament, which is set for 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, as well as in the elementary 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 at 10 a.m. on the first day. Arlington and Owen Valley will play as well as Hauser against Forest Park.
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."
The Shakamak Lady Lakers will compete at the South Putnam Invitational Saturday, Jan. 3. They will play the hosts at 9:30 a.m. before Clay City faces North Vermillion. The consolation and championship games will follow.
The Union (Dugger) girls basketball team also will be playing over the holidays. They will compete at the Red Hill (Ill.) Invitational Monday, Dec. 29 and Tuesday, Dec. 30.
They will face Lawrenceville, Ill. at 7 p.m. Dec. 29. Lawrenceville and Noble, Ill. will meet in the second game. The two losers will play at 7 p.m. Dec. 30 and the championship game will follow.
Boys action begins Friday, Dec. 26 at the Pizza Hut Wabash Valley Classic.
The four-day tournament, featuring 28 games, will take place this year at Terre Haute South. The tournament rotates between South and Terre Haute North.
Three local teams are scheduled to participate.
Shakamak will face Turkey Run in a battle of 4-1 teams in the opening game at 10 a.m. Dec. 26.
"This will be the first of two straight tournaments that we will be competing in," said Shakamak coach Steve Brett. "We will be playing at least three games in three days and hopefully four games in four days at Terre Haute South.
"Then we come back with the Greene County Invitational. We think it is good to have to play a lot of games in a short period of time. It is a lot like what you will face during sectional week, when you have to play three games over a couple of days."
Game two at the Pizza Hut Wabash Valley Classic will feature Linton-Stockton (0-4) against Terre Haute North at 11:30 a.m. Dec. 26. North has beaten Ben Davis and Vincennes Lincoln, but has lost to Northview, Evansville Harrison, Mooresville and Bloomington South.
Just like Shakamak, the Miners will compete at South before playing in the Greene County Invitational.
"This gives us a chance to play some very good teams that we might not normally face during the regular season," said Linton-Stockton coach Darren Clayton. "We really like the challenge that the Pizza Hut Classic presents.
"You have to play a lot of games in a short span. It can only make you better to play in a tournament like this. We are very happy to be in it."
Bloomfield is the third area team that will be playing at the PHWVC.
The Cards (5-3) will meet the 6-1 West Vigo Vikings at 5:30 p.m. Friday. The Vikings only loss is to Terre Haute South.
"This is always a good tournament for us," Cardinals coach Ron McBride said. "It is a foothold on what the sectional will be like. West Vigo looked good last year, and will be a tough test for us. They play hard."
First year WV coach Joe Boehler said the bottom half of the bracket is just loaded with talented teams and will be hard to advance out of it.
"Coach McBride always has very disciplined teams and they create some exciting games," said Boehler.
The rest of the first-day schedule at Terre Haute South will be Monrovia vs. Northview at 1 p.m.; Riverton Parke vs. Sullivan at 2:30 p.m.; South Vermillion vs. Terre Haute South at 4 p.m.; Marshall vs. Owen Valley at 7 p.m.; and Casey-Westfield, Ill. vs. Rockville, 8:30 p.m.
The tournament will continue Saturday Dec. 27 with the first-round winners and losers meeting.
The final two days of tournament are set for Monday, Dec. 29 and Tuesday, Dec. 30. Only half of the field will qualify to play on the final day. To view the bracket, go to www.wabashvalleyclassic.net.
Eastern Greene will begin play at the Graber Post Buildings Classic on Tuesday, Dec. 30.
The Thunderbirds will play South Knox at 4:30 p.m.
The other first-round match-ups Tuesday are Brownstown Central vs. Washington Catholic at 3 p.m.; Southwestern (Hanover) vs. Barr-Reeve, 6 p.m.; and Cloverdale at North Daviess, 7:30 p.m.
The final two rounds of the tournament, which is hosted by North Daviess, will be played Friday, Jan. 2 and Saturday, Jan. 3.
"What can you say, the Graber Post tournament is loaded," said Eastern Greene coach Andy Igel. "Barr-Reeve, North Daviess, Brownstown Central, North Daviess and South Knox are all very good basketball teams. They are really outstanding teams.
"It would be hard to pick a favorite. Coach (Dave) Benter teams at Brownstown Central always play hard. Barr-Reeve just got one of their guards back and they are getting better. I would have to rate them as the favorite. North Daviess is very good and playing at home and South Knox is two-time defending sectional champion."
Igel said he doesn't mind playing the Spartans again. The two members of the local Class 2A Sectional will play Feb. 7 at EGHS.
"I don't think they have missed a beat from last year," said Igel. "It is a very tough tournament field.
"It doesn't bother us to play a team more than once, like South Knox. It will give us a good idea of what we will be facing if we see them for a third time in the sectional."
Union (Dugger) and White River Valley are the two boys teams that won't be playing over the holidays, although WRV faced Washington Catholic Tuesday in a game that originally scheduled for Dec. 26.
If that is not enough for fans, the 39th annual Greene County Invitational at WRV will take place Jan. 6-10. Each team will play three games.
On Tuesday, Jan. 6, North Central will play Shakamak at 6 p.m. to be followed by White River Valley vs. Union (Dugger) at 7:30 p.m.
On Wednesday, Jan. 7, Vincennes Rivet will meet Clay City at 6 p.m. The second game, at approximately 7:30 p.m., will be Linton-Stockton vs. Eastern Greene,
The consolation games will be played at 6 and 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 8.
The semifinals will be on Friday, Jan. 9 at the same times.
The final day of the tournament will be Saturday, Jan. 10. Game times are 10 a.m. (seventh place), 11:30 a.m. (fifth place), with the third place game at 6 p.m. and the championship game set for 7:30 p.m.
Shakamak is the defending champion.
So if you are a high school hoop junkie, these tournaments are like a extra stocking stuffer or two at the merriest time of the year.
B.J. Hargis is sports editor at the Greene County Daily World. He can be reached at (812) 847-4487, ext. 12 or at email@example.com.
Greene County Daily World sports writer Travis David contributed to this story.
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