BV, GF prepare for Holiday Hoops
The Berryville Holiday Hoops Tournament starts on Thursday and this year's tournament field is better than ever.
"It's really loaded with some really good basketball teams," Berryville boys basketball coach Brent Compton said. "It's going to be very exciting. The people that come watch it are going to get their money's worth."
Boys: White County Central won the boys tournament a year ago and the Bears are back to defend their title. White County Central has started the season 14-3 and will play Bergman in the first round.
"They have everybody back and a 6-7 move-in, which is going to make them even better," Compton said.
Valley Springs has a new coach in Blake Hanney, but the Tigers have gotten off to a 14-3 start and have beaten Bay and Alpena. Valley Springs will play Monett, Mo., in the first round — a team that went 1-21 last year.
"Valley Springs was a state tournament team last year and will be again this year," Compton said. "Monett is a team that has everybody back. They had a rough year last year, but they are much improved with everyone back."
Huntsville will play Pocahontas in the first round. Huntsville made a trip to the Class 4A state tournament and while Pocahontas didn't make it out of districts, Compton said the Redskins are going to be a fun team to watch as well.
"Both of those teams are solid teams," Compton said. "Pocahontas always competes well in our tournament and throughout the rest of the season. They always have good athletes. Of course we all know about Huntsville. They are always solid and always in contention for a state tournament bid."
Lastly, Berryville won't have it easy in the first round, as the Bobcats take on CAC in the first round. The Mustangs are 4-8 so far this year, but Compton said that record is deceiving.
"They are a team that is playing up," Compton said. "They are playing 5A, 6A, 7A schools leading up to this, therefore they will be very well tested leading up to the game."
Girls: To be the best, you have to beat the best. The Berryville Lady Bobcats might have a chance to do that with a win in the first round of the Berryville Holiday Hoops Tournament. A first round win would likely set up a matchup with Pocahontas, the 2017 Class 4A state champions. Before the Lady Bobcats begin worrying about that game, Berryville must prepare for Bald Knob, though. The Lady Bulldogs only have three wins on the year, but Lady Bobcat coach Daniel Cornelison knows they are a team to take seriously.
"They have two young ladies that are explosive offensively and are averaging double figures," Cornelison said. "They are very physical. They are a solid team and have traditionally been very good. It will be a quality opponent for us to open up the tournament."
Valley Springs will play Green Forest in the first round of the tournament. Valley Springs returns all five starters from a team that made it to the Class 3A state championship game. Green Forest coach Kyle Farrar looks forward to seeing his team improve throughout the week.
"Valley Springs is going to be a tough matchup just because they are well-coached. They play hard and they have all the tradition in the world," Farrar said. "I like my team and what we are able to do. There are eight good teams in that tournament, so it will give us a real good test and it will be a good chance to see where we are heading into conference."
Pocahontas will play Bergman in the first round. Cornelison knows the Lady Redskins will be a challenge for all the teams in the tournament.
"They are very physical," Cornelison said. "They are very well-coached. They are going to play really good defense and are very fundamentally sound."
Jacksonville will play Jasper in the first round of the tournament and the Lady Titans are a new addition to the tournament this year. Jacksonville is 4-7 on the young season, but as a Class 6A school, Cornelison said he isn't paying close attention to their record.
"They can probably do things the rest of us can't just because of their athleticism," Cornelison said. "That will be an exciting addition to our tournament, but their opponent, Jasper is one of the favorites in Class 1A. They are a very well-coached team. Explosive offensively. Just a really good basketball team."