Ridaught: High school basketball jumps into action

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Well, it’s that time of year again for high school hoops.

This month there will be plenty of opportunities to see multiple basketball games in a day as holiday tournaments get underway in Alachua County and surrounding areas.

These tournaments give schools an opportunity to face opposition that they might not otherwise get the chance to play during the regular season. It’s a good test to face different styles of basketball, taller teams, etc.

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This Thursday, Trenton High School will host the Smith Asset Management Classic. Both the girls and boys teams will be in action this week (full schedule below).

“We’ve got a team on the boys side from Mississippi and a team from Tennessee,” said Trenton girls basketball coach Bryant Frye, who did his best to piece last year’s tournament together after many cancellations due to COVID-19. “I’ve also got a girls team from Tennessee. I try to change it up each year and get some bigger schools.”

Both Tigers teams will play Upperman (TN) on the opening day of the tournament with the girls playing Thursday at 8 p.m., followed by the boys at 9:30 p.m.

Bradford High School (Starke) will host the Kiwanis Christmas Tournament this Thursday through Saturday, Dec. 16-18. It will be a round-robin format (full schedule below).

“I think we’ve been able to put together a competitive field from surrounding counties,” said Bradford coach Sampson Jackson, whose team will open against Suwannee (Live Oak) on Thursday at 8:30 p.m. “Facing the opponents we play is big. It gives us a look at bigger bodies, teams just as skilled as us to prepare us for the playoffs.”

Next week, Trinity Catholic (Ocala) is hosting the inaugural Jim Haley Christmas Classic in honor of the hall of fame coach who passed away in 2018.

Area boys teams P.K. Yonge (Gainesville), Columbia (Lake City), and Santa Fe (Alachua) will be competing in the tournament, Dec. 20-23.

Vanguard (Ocala) is hosting the prestigious Kingdom of the Sun Invitational, Dec. 27-30. Host Vanguard and Marion County schools West Port and North Marion will be participating in the 16-team tournament, which will include teams from Georgia, Kentucky and Tennessee.

And Santa Fe will serve as host of the Hitchcock’s Classic, Dec. 27-30, which will be played at the Legacy Multipurpose Center in Alachua.

There will be 16 boys teams, including Columbia (Lake City), Eastside (Gainesville), Fort White, Hawthorne, Suwannee (Live Oak), and Santa Fe.

Plus, a total of 10 girls teams will be in action to include area schools Buchholz (Gainesville), Gainesville, Hawthorne, P.K. Yonge (Gainesville), Suwannee, and host Santa Fe.

We’ll have coverage throughout the month. Try and get out and support basketball in the area. Here is this week’s schedule:

Smith Asset Management Classic (at Trenton)

Thursday, Dec. 16

5 p.m. – Williston vs. Taylor County (Perry) (VG)

6:30 p.m. – East Ridge (Clermont) vs. Dunnellon, Gym #2 (VG)

6:30 p.m. – Grace Baptist (MS) vs. Taylor County (VB)

8 p.m. – Trenton vs. Upperman (TN) (VG)

9:30 p.m. – Trenton vs. Upperman (TN) (VB)

Friday, Dec. 17

3:30 p.m. – Taylor County vs. Upperman (TN) (VG)

5 p.m. – Trenton JVG vs. Upperman (TN), Gym #2

5 p.m. – Williston vs. East Ridge (VG)

6:30 p.m. – Taylor County vs. Upperman (TN) (VB)

8 p.m. – Trenton vs. Dunnellon (VG)

9:30 p.m. – Trenton vs. Grace Baptist (MS) (VB)

Saturday, Dec. 18

Noon – (VG) 5th vs. 6th-place

1:30 p.m. – (VB) 3rd vs. 4th-place

3 p.m. – (VG) 3rd vs. 4th-place

4:30 p.m. – VG championship

6 p.m. – VB championship

Kiwanis Christmas Tournament (at Bradford High School)

Thursday, Dec. 16

4 p.m. – Bradford JV vs. Joshua Christian Academy

5:30 p.m. – Northside Christian Academy (Starke) vs. Hope Christian Academy (Starke)

7 p.m. – Clay (Green Cove Springs) vs. Paxon (Jacksonville)

8:30 p.m. – Bradford (Starke) vs. Suwannee (Live Oak)

Friday, Dec. 17

4 p.m. – Bradford JV vs. Clay

5:30 p.m. – Joshua Christian Academy (Jacksonville) vs. Northside Christian Academy

7 p.m. – Paxon vs. Hope Christian Academy

8:30 p.m. – Bradford vs. Clay

Saturday, Dec. 18

4 p.m. – Bradford JV vs. Riverside

5:30 p.m. – Clay vs. Northside Christian Academy

7 p.m. – Hope Christian vs. Suwannee

8:30 p.m. – Bradford vs. Paxon

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