Boyle girls, Danville boys hosting tournaments

December 26, 2004|MIKE MARSEE

With one event growing and another just getting started, next week will be a busy one on the Danville and Boyle County basketball courts.

Between a new girls tournament at Boyle and the boys and girls games at Danville's panorama, 44 teams will play 48 games in a six-day span beginning Monday.

The two events will have decidedly different fields, at least geographically. Boyle has cast a net from one end of Kentucky to the other to draw girls teams to the inaugural Boyle County Invitational, while at Danville, 21 of the 27 teams participating in the City of Firsts Classic will come from the 11th and 12th regions.

Boyle County Invitational

The Boyle girls have hosted holiday tournaments in the past, but the four-day tourney that begins Monday is the first in several years at the school.


Boyle coach Judie Mason, who is in her second year at the school, said she has organized the same kind of event she hosted at Somerset when she coached there.

"I had a Christmas tournament at Somerset before I came here, and we had 16 teams, and I thought, 'Why not carry it on to here?'" Mason said. "With me coaching for 15 years, I've got enough connections to get some quality teams in here."

Mason said she had no trouble filling the field after sending e-mails to coaches all over the state.

The responses came from everywhere. The field includes teams from 11 of Kentucky's 16 basketball regions.

Mason said for the most part, she made a conscious effort to stay away from teams that are close to home.

"I'm trying to get teams in here that we don't see every day, although it will probably hold the crowds down," she said.

The only 12th Region teams in the BCI field are Somerset, which is coached by former Mason assistant Jim Brown, and Pulaski Southwestern.

The field also includes the Muhlenberg South team coached by Jerry Hancock, who coached at Boyle from 1994-96, and the Montgomery County team coached by John High, who was Mason's high school coach at Whitesburg. Another headliner is defending 9th Region champion Boone County.

"There's not one team that's going to dominate. That's what pulled a lot of people to this tournament," Mason said.

Mason said she didn't want to start a tournament in her first year at Boyle because she didn't think her team was ready.

"I feel like we can compete with some of these teams now," she said.

Eight games will be played on each of the tourney's four days. Each team is guaranteed four games, meaning consolation-round games will be played to determine third through 16th places.

Mason said she had eight teams on a waiting list for this year's tourney, and she hopes to expand to 32 teams next year.

"We're really not competing with (other tournaments) after Christmas," she said. "I'm hoping through word of mouth, if we put on a good show, more teams are going to want to be a part of this."

Stuart Powell City of Firsts Classic

After the success of the inaugural event last season, Danville coach Craig Pippen said he had no shortage of teams willing to fill the field this year.

"I got a lot of e-mails from teams who wanted in ... and a lot of teams wanted to come back," Pippen said.

The event, which will be held Thursday through Saturday, has expanded from two days to three and from 12 games to 16. There will be 10 boys games and six girls games.

"The way it was run last year, we took care of all the teams, and we're going to continue to do that," he said.

The red-white-and-blue basketballs will be used once again, and Pippen said other perks for players and coaches are better thanks to increased support from title sponsor Stuart Powell Ford and others.

"Our sponsorship is better this year," he said. "Stuart Powell has been tremendous. There's a lot of promise for this event in the future."

The strongest teams in the girls field include Mercer County, Lexington Christian, Scott County, Tates Creek and Woodford County.

Defending 11th Region champion Lafayette is part of the boys field, along with two other top teams from that region, Frankfort and Madison Central.

The lone out-of-state entry is New Creations of Richmond, Ind., which won national titles in the National Association of Christian Athletics in each of the last two years.

New Creations features 6-9, 330-pound forward Carl Swanigan, who was the Class 5A player of the year in Utah last season and has signed to play college basketball at Mississippi.

Danville's boys will play two of the weaker teams in the field - Riverside Christian and Rose Hill Christian combined to win only five games last year - but Pippen said he believes that's best for his team early in the season.

"We've only been together as a unit for a little over (two weeks), and we've got to make sure we put ourselves in a position where we can compete this early in the season," he said.

Invited teams are given the choice of playing one, two or three games, and many teams will be coming to Danville for a game or two after playing in a tournament earlier in the week.

"One of the reasons why we picked this weekend is most tournaments are over by New Year's Eve," Pippen said. "This is another opportunity to do something that most people don't have to offer."

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