Twelve teams, including nine returning squads, are competing in far Southwest Virginia’s largest high school boys basketball tournament. The four opening-round games are Thursday, the quarterfinals are Friday, consolation bracket and semifinal games are set for Saturday and six games are slated for Monday, including the championship.
BACK IN THE TOURNEY
Eastside, which defeated Wise Central 65-54 for last year’s Grand Classic championship, is back to defend its title.
Central, coming off a Blue Bracket title in the KSA tournament in Florida, isn’t the field this season. The Warriors are taking part in the annual Arby’s Classic at Viking Hall.
Other schools making back-to-back appearances in the Grand Classic field are J.I. Burton, Rye Cove, Richlands, Chilhowie, Honaker, Northwood, Virginia High and Ridgeview. Union, which won the tournament in previous years, returns to the field after playing in the Arby’s last season.
Newcomers Lee High and Grundy, which face off on Thursday, round out the field.
In Thursday’s tournament opener, Richlands (2-2) meets Rye Cove (4-1) at 4 p.m. Lee High (4-1) vs. Grundy (4-0) follows at 5:30 p.m.. Ridgeview (5-2) then takes on Northwood (2-2) at 7 p.m. and J.I. Burton (4-1) vs. Chilhowie (4-3) closes out the night at 8:30 p.m.
Thursday’s winners move on to Friday’s quarterfinals, where Virginia High, Honaker, Eastside and Union await. The Bearcats (3-2) play the Lee-Grundy winner at 4 p.m. and the Tigers (3-4) face either Richlands or Rye Cove at 5:30 p.m. In the evening quarterfinals, the Spartans (1-4) meet the Ridgeview-Northwood winner at 7 p.m. and the Bears (3-2) take on the Burton-Chilhowie winner at 8:30 p.m.
Saturday’s schedule has opening-round consolation games set for 4 p.m. and 5:30 p.m., followed by the semifinals at 7 p.m. and 8:30 p.m.
After a day off on Sunday, the tournament concludes with a six-game schedule Monday. The consolation games open the action at 1 p.m., followed by the third-place game at 7 p.m. and the championship matchup at 8:30 p.m.
MORE HOLIDAY HOOPS
Several girls teams are participating in a one-day showcase at Emory & Henry College on Friday.
Action begins at 1 p.m. when Fort Chiswell takes on State Line Rush. A Wise Central vs. Tennessee High matchup is set for 2:30 p.m., followed by Sullivan East vs. Graham at 4 p.m., Gate City vs. Honaker at 5:30 p.m., and Patrick Henry vs. Twin Valley at 7 p.m.
In addition to Central’s foray into the Arby’s Classic, a few other Southwest Virginia boys teams are hitting the hardwood.
Gate City, after playing 15 years in the Arby’s, heads to Florida to compete in a round-robin tournament at Lemon Bay. The Blue Devils take on Charlotte, Florida, on Friday and Port Charlotte, Florida, on Saturday in the two-day event.
Abingdon travels to Fort Chiswell to play in the First Community Bank tournament Friday, Saturday and Monday.
John Battle is competing in the Action Athletics Christmas Tournament at Sullivan North on Friday, Saturday and Monday.