The annual holiday tradition of the Muscogee County Christmas Tournament, which used to be called the William Henry Shaw Christmas Tournament (in honor of the man who was superintendent from 1945-73), again features local and regional boys and girls high school basketball teams. Unlike most years, however, the tournament’s 2018 edition won’t crown champions because it has reverted back to the showcase format it tried a few years ago.
And that’s because most coaches prefer it that way, said Muscogee County School District athletics Jeff Battles.
The showcase format guarantees teams the number of games they want, between one and three, and they know in advance the date, time and opponent of each game. Plus, the local coaches didn’t like risking the chance of having to play a region rival a third time in addition to the two regular-season games many of them play against each other, Battles said. So, as he promised the coaches, he worked over the summer to schedule enough teams from outside Columbus to make the showcase format work.
“It does take away from the championship atmosphere,” Battles said. “But, at the same time, you get a good look at different teams.”
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He also scheduled the two marquee games — Carver girls vs. Central, and Spencer boys vs. Central — in the last two slots to have a semblance of a championship atmosphere.
For one admission price of $10, a fan can attend all the games that day at any of the two school gyms. For one admission price of $12.50, a fan can attend all the games in the Columbus Civic Center. Here is the schedule:
Thursday, December 27
At Jordan Vocational High School
11:45 a.m. – Boys – Hardaway vs. Jordan
1:30 p.m. – Girls – Columbus vs. Marion County
3:15 p.m. – Girls – Northside vs. Callaway
5 p.m. – Girls – Jordan vs. Lanett
6:45 p.m. – Boys – Northside vs. Marion County
8:30 p.m. – Boys – Columbus vs. Lanett
At Spencer High School
11:45 a.m. – Girls – Spencer vs. Russell County
1:30 p.m. – Boys – Shaw vs. Russell County
3:15 p.m. – Girls – Hardaway vs. Kendrick
5 p.m. – Boys – Kendrick vs. Central
6:45 p.m. – Girls – Central vs. South Atlanta
8:30 p.m. – Boys – Spencer vs. Auburn
Friday, December 28
At Kendrick High School
11:45 a.m. – Boys – Jordan vs. Notasulga
1:30 p.m. – Girls – Columbus vs. Lanett
3:15 p.m. – Boys – Spencer vs. Lanett
5 p.m. – Girls – Jordan vs. Marion County
6:45 p.m. – Boys – Columbus vs. Marion County
8:30 p.m. – Boys – Kendrick vs. Russell County
At Northside High School
11:45 a.m. – Girls – Northside vs. Russell County
1:30 p.m. – Girls – Hardaway vs. Auburn
3:15 p.m. – Boys – Hardaway vs. Auburn
5 p.m. – Girls – Spencer vs. South Atlanta
6:45 p.m. – Girls – Harris County vs. Central
8:30 p.m. – Boys – Northside vs. Central
Saturday, December 29
At Columbus Civic Center
10 a.m. – Girls – Hardaway vs. Marion County
11:30 a.m. – Boys – Lanett vs. Hardaway
1 p.m. – Boys - Kendrick vs. Pacelli
2:30 p.m. – Boys – Russell County vs. Northside
4 p.m. – Girls – Auburn vs. Harris County
5:30 – Boys – Auburn vs. Marion County
7 p.m. – Girls – Carver vs. Central
8:30 p.m. – Boys – Spencer vs. Central
Mark Rice, 706-576-6272, @MarkRiceLE.