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Pairings set for Wabash Valley ClassicPosted Tuesday, November 29, 2011, at 6:31 PM
TERRE HAUTE -- Pairings for the 12th annual Pizza Hut Wabash Valley Classic boys basketball tournament were announced at Terre Haute North High School Tuesday.
Former Terre Haute Garfield and Indiana State multi-sport standout Jim Waugh was the special guest and drew out the teams to make up the brackets for the 16-team field, four-day tournament.
The tournament, which will start on Tuesday, Dec. 27, will feature 28 games over the course of four days and will conclude with four games on Friday, Dec. 30.
A tourney pass, good for all 28 games, will be available at each participating school until Christmas break. A portion of those ticket sales will go to each school's athletic budget.
A daily ticket, good for all games on a given day, will cost $6 and will be available each day at North. Tourney passes also can be purchased at North.
The first game on Dec. 27 will be Marshall, Ill. vs. Bloomfield at 10 a.m. to be followed by Monrovia vs. Linton-Stockton at 11:30 a.m.
Casey-Westfield, Ill. will take on Riverton Parke at 1 p.m. then Sullivan will take on Rockville at 2:30 p.m.
In the bottom bracket, Terre Haute South will take on host Terre Haute North at 4 p.m. It is the second straight year they have met in the opening round. North is the defending champion and has won the tournament a record four times.
"It was interesting that North and South drew each other in the first game again this year," said Shakamak coach Steve Brett.
Turkey Run will face Owen Valley at 5:30 p.m., then South Vermillion will take on West Vigo at 7 p.m. and then Northview will play Shakamak in the nightcap at 8:30 p.m.
Game times will be the same -- 10 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 1 p.m., 2:30 p.m.; 4 p.m.; 5:30 p.m.; 7 p.m.; and 8:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 28 and Thursday, Dec. 29.
"There is a lot of tradition in this tournament," said new Bloomfield coach Matt Britton. "Obviously there are a lot of competitive teams in this tournament.
"There will be a lot of quality teams here."
Bloomfield, which has been a charter member of the Classic since 2000, has never met Marshall, tournament champion in 2008 and tournament runner-up in 2007.
"Marshall has always had good teams," said Britton. "We would expect them to be the same this year.
"We will have a chance to scout them and come up with a game plan before we play them."
Linton-Stockton coach Joey Hart will lead his Miners into the tournament for the second consecutive season. They split four games a year ago at the WVC, including a 91-87 double overtime loss to Casey-Westfield. The 91 points by the Warriors set a single-game record by one team and the combined 178 points also set a single-game WVC mark by two teams.
"The team we didn't want to play was Bloomfield or Marshall," joked Hart about a second round match up with either the Cardinals or Lions. "Last year we came up here with a very young team and was able to learn quite a few things about our team.
"This is a brutal tournament. You are going to have weaknesses exposed over three or four days."
The Miners defeated Monrovia 46-42 a year ago in the third round.
"Monrovia is a very athletic team," said Hart. "They are going to present us with a challenge, much like they did last year.
"We will actually have a few games under our belts by then and will see how we are playing. Our kids will know more about the grind of having to play three games in three days or four games in four days this year."
Because of the success of the football season, the Miners will not open the regular season until Friday when they host Owen Valley.
Shakamak is the other area team that did not play during the first week of the regular season.
The Lakers and Knights, who are coached by former SHS boss Ernie Maesch, will be meeting for a third consecutive year at the Wabash Valley Classic. They met in the first round a year ago with Northview winning 60-41.
In 2009, Shakamak won 64-60 in a second round matchup.
"Northview was hit by graduation pretty hard last year and we have everybody back," said Brett. "It is ironic that we will be playing them for the third straight year in the Classic.
"This is an exciting tournament. It is like the old style tournaments, where everybody is thrown together and not grouped by size or class. We are looking forward to competing against some very good teams."
Brett added that Sullivan is probably the favorite, but that North has some good players, South is a bit of an unknown and that there are several other good teams that will be competitive.
Hart added that the field is very balanced.
"Legitimately, there are eight or nine teams that could win this tournament," said Hart, who also coached in the tournament previously at Turkey Run. "I have never seen it this way before."
Sullivan coach Jeff Moore, who's Golden Arrows are ranked No. 2 in Class 2A, said he was asked by virtually everyone in the media about being a favorite because they return seven players from last year's Class 3A Sectional championship team, including Indiana State recruit Rhett Smith.
"Everybody asked me about having a target on our backs," said Moore, who is 310-182 in his 22nd year in charge of the Golden Arrows. "I guess it is a good thing to have a target on our backs compared to not having a target. But there are always a lot of good teams here at the Classic.
"...We have some quickness and can apply a lot of pressure defensively. Teams will have to be able to handle our pressure."
This tournament is a basketball fans delight. Go out and support your local teams and get ready to see some of the best boys basketball the Wabash Valley has to offer.
B.J. Hargis is the sports editor at the Greene County Daily World. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (812) 847-4487, ext. 12.
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