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Houston County Christmas Classic Tips-off Thursday


16 Team Field Awaits

By Will Johnson              

Messenger Reporter

HOUSTON COUNTY – After all the presents have been opened and the leftovers from Christmas dinner have been put away, basketball fans still have one present to open on Thursday as the Houston County Christmas Classic Basketball Tournament tips-off.

This year’s tournament field features 16 teams and of those 16 teams, seven of them are ranked in the Texas Association of Basketball Coaches Dec. 16 poll. Those seven teams are: the #2 ranked Class 2A Grapeland Sandies; the #5 ranked Class 3A Crockett Bulldogs; the #7 ranked Class 3A Coldspring-Oakhurst Trojans; the #10 ranked Class 4A La Marque Cougars; the #16 ranked Class 4A Palestine Wildcats; the #22 ranked Class 3A Franklin Lions; and the #25 ranked Class 3A Diboll Lumberjacks.

The remaining nine teams are: the Class 4A Navasota Rattlers; the Class 4A Rusk Eagles; the Class 4A Krum Bobcats; the Class 4A Center Roughriders; the Class 4A Cumberland Knights; the Class 3A Central Heights Blue Devils; the Class 3A Elkhart Elks; the Class 3A Jefferson Bulldogs; and the Class 3A Trinity Tigers.

The action will begin on Thursday, Dec. 26 with Pool Play. The games will be held at both the Andrew J. Hopkins Activity Center in Crockett and at the Grapeland High School gym. 

The teams will be broken up in Pools A, B, C and D. Pool A will consist of Grapeland, Navasota, Central Heights and Rusk.

Pool B may be the toughest pool in the tournament and will be comprised of Coldspring, Palestine, Elkhart and Diboll.

Pool C will feature La Marque, Franklin, Krum and Trinity while Pool D will see Crockett, Center, Jefferson and Cumberland grouped together.

The first games of the day on Dec. 26 begin at 3 pm. Palestine will face-off against Diboll in Grapeland while La Marque takes on Trinity in Crockett.

Game two in Grapeland, scheduled for a 4:30 pm tip will feature Elkhart taking on Coldspring. In Crockett, game two will see Franklin and Krum squaring off.

Scheduled for a 6 pm tip-off, game three in Grapeland will see Navasota taking on Rusk while Center takes on Jefferson in Crockett.

The final games on Thursday will feature the two host teams playing on their home courts. The Sandies will host the Central Heights Blue Devils in Grapeland while the Bulldogs will play against the Knights of Cumberland Academy. Both games are scheduled for 7:30 pm.

The action picks back up on Friday, Dec. 27 with games beginning at 8 am. The Sandies are scheduled to play the Navasota Rattlers at high noon in Grapeland and will close out the day against the Rusk Eagles with a tip-off scheduled for 7:30 pm.

Elkhart will open play bright and early Friday morning as they take on the Palestine Wildcats at 8 am. The Elks second game of the day will be against the Diboll Lumberjacks with a scheduled start time of 3 pm.  

In Crockett, the Bulldogs day begins at 12 pm with a game against the Center Roughriders. Their second game of the day will see Crockett taking on the Jefferson Bulldogs, with a tip-off scheduled for 7:30 pm.

Once all the pool play games are complete, the winners of the four pools will square off in the tournament semifinals while the second place teams will be moved to the silver bracket. The third place teams will be placed in the bronze bracket and the fourth place teams will be placed in the consolation bracket.

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

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