By Will Johnson

Messenger Reporter

HOUSTON COUNTY – The Houston County Holiday Tournament tipped off on Wednesday, Dec. 28 with a full slate of games.

At the outset, the tournament was divided into two pools – Pool A and Pool B. Pool A consisted of: the Crockett Bulldogs; the Fairfield Eagles; the China Spring Cougars; the Pollock Central Bulldogs; and the Westwood Panthers.

Pool B consisted of: the Grapeland Sandies; the Madisonville Mustangs; the Diboll Lumberjacks; the Frankston Indians; and the Trinity Tigers.

As far as classification, four of the 10 teams – China Spring, Diboll, Fairfield and Madisonville – are 4A schools. Crockett, Frankston, Pollock Central, Trinity and Westwood are 3A schools.

That leaves the Grapeland Sandies as the lone representative from Class 2A and while the Sandies are the smallest school in the tournament, don’t be surprised if they are presented with the biggest trophy after the championship game on Friday Dec. 30.

The tournament started with Crockett taking on Fairfield at the Andrew J. Hopkins Activity Center in Crockett while Trinity played Frankston in Grapeland. The scores for all games were unavailable as of press time which allows for a little prognostication.

After pool play, this is how the order may look. Pool A: 1) China Spring 2) Crockett; 3) Fairfield 4) Westwood; and 5) Pollock Central. In Pool B: 1) Grapeland; 2) Madisonville; 3) Trinity; 4) Diboll; and 5) Frankston.

On the website www.hoopsinsider.net, a question was posed as to readers as to who would win the tournament. As of 1 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 27, the Sandies had 35 percent of the vote while China Spring had 29 percent and Fairfield had 26 percent. The other 10 percent was divided among the other seven teams.

The Sandies are ranked #10 in the latest Class 2A Texas Association of Basketball Coaches (TABC) poll while the Fairfield Eagles are ranked #23 in the TABC Class 4A poll.

After the last games of pool play are complete, the fifth place team in Pool A will take on the fifth place team in Pool B. In this game, look for Pollock Central to take down Frankston by double digits.

Following the Central/Frankston matchup, expect to see the Westwood Panthers take on the Diboll Lumberjacks and don’t be surprised if Westwood hands Diboll a loss in OT.

In the consolation game, slated to begin at 4 p.m. on Friday, basketball fans will be treated to a fast paced game between Fairfield and Trinity. The contest should be tight throughout with the Eagles pulling away late to win the consolation prize.

The third place game will perhaps feature the hometown Crockett Bulldogs taking on the Madisonville Mustangs. This game will be a toss-up, but with a 5:30 p.m. start time and a decided home-court advantage, look for the Dawgs to fetch the third place trophy.

Don’t be surprised to see the Sandies make the trip down U.S. Hwy 287 to compete in the championship game at 7 p.m. against the China Spring Cougars. The teamwork of the Grapeland offense coupled with the fast hands and quick feet of the Sandies “D” will prove to be too much for the Cougars as Grapeland wins the championship and keeps the Houston County Holiday Tournament title in Houston County.

Will Johnson may be contacted via e-mail at wjohnson@messenger-news.com.