Houston County Holiday Classic Teams Announced

Games Begin Dec. 28

By Will Johnson

Messenger Reporter

HOUSTON COUNTY – The field is now set for the Houston County Holiday Classic Basketball Tournament to be held Dec. 28-30, in both Crockett and Grapeland.

The popularity and the strength of the tournament have continued to grow for the last several years and this year marks the biggest field yet with 20 teams.

The 20 teams will initially be divided up into four pools, A-D. Pool A is comprised of the Grapeland Sandies; the China Spring Cougars; the Rusk Eagles; the Groesbeck Goats; and the Ovilla Christian Eagles.

Pool B is comprised of: the Coldspring-Oakhurst Trojans; the Ferris Yellow Jackets; the LaPoynor Flayers; the Westwood Panthers; and the Mexia Black Cats.

Pool C is comprised of: the Palestine Wildcats; the Maypearl Panthers; the Madisonville Mustangs; the Trinity Tigers; and tentatively, the Crockett JV Bulldogs.

Pool D is comprised of: the Crockett Bulldogs; the Hudson Hornets; the Flatonia Bulldogs, the Lovelady Lions and the Aggieland HMS Panthers.

Pools A and B will be played in Grapeland while Pools C and D will be played in Crockett.

At the conclusion of pool play, the teams will be placed into one of five brackets, based on their records. The Gold Bracket will be for the first-place teams in each pool. The Silver bracket will be for the second-place teams in pool play. The Bronze Bracket will see the third-place teams square off, the Copper Bracket will be for the fourth- place teams and the fifth-place teams will move into the Consolation Bracket.

The games begin bright and early on Tuesday morning Dec. 28 at 8 am as Coldspring will take on LaPoynor in Grapeland while Palestine and Madisonville will square off in Crockett, also with an 8 am tip.

The Sandies open play at 12:30 pm against Rusk while Crockett will take on Flatonia in its opening game of the tournament. The Lovelady Lions will open play at 11 am in Crockett against the Hudson Hornets.

Lovelady will be back in action at 2 pm on Thursday as they take on the Aggieland Panthers. Crockett and Grapeland will close out Day One of Pool Play as Crockett takes on Aggieland and Grapeland takes on Ovilla Christian. Both games have an 8 pm tip-off.

The tournament action resumes at 8 am on Wednesday, Dec. 29 as Rusk takes on Ovilla in Grapeland while Flatonia faces Aggieland in Crockett. Crockett swings into action at 11 am with a game against Hudson while Grapeland opens their second day of tourney action against China Spring, beginning at 12:30 pm. Lovelady will play Flatonia in Crockett’s auxiliary gym at 1 pm.

The Sandies will close out Day Two with a game against Groesbeck, scheduled for an 8 pm tip-off. Meanwhile, a battle for Houston County bragging rights will unfold in the Hopkins Activity Center as Lovelady takes on Crockett, beginning at 8 pm.

Then, after 40 games have been played in just over 36 hours, the brackets will be set and the games will start all over again.

The Crockett Bulldogs are the reigning, 2019 champs as they defeated the Grapeland Sandies, 52-49. The COVID-19 pandemic forced the cancellation of the 2020 tournament.   

Fortunately, it’s back this year and if you’re a basketball fan, Houston County is the place to be between Dec. 28 and Dec. 30. As longtime ESPN commentator Dick Vitale would say, “It’s gonna be awesome, baby!!”  

Will Johnson may be contacted via e-mail at [email protected]

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