Ridaught: Hoops dominate the holidays

Hoops dominated the holidays.

There were high school basketball tournaments on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. There’s even one today in Jacksonville (Bernard Wilkes Classic at Ribault).

Not to mention many other tournaments that played right up until the eve of Christmas Eve, like the Jim Haley Christmas Classic at Trinity Catholic (Ocala) and the Battle on the Island tournament at Fleming Island (Orange Park).

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That was followed up by several basketball tournaments after the Christmas holiday, such as the Kingdom of the Sun at Vanguard (Ocala), and the Hitchcock’s Challenge in Alachua, Dec. 27-30.

Several area teams got a chance to play multiple games in a week.

In fact, the Eastside boys basketball team played six games in six days, while Buchholz played five games in less than a week.

The Bobcats went 2-1 at the Mainland (Daytona Beach) Christmas Tournament last Monday through Wednesday and followed that up with a 2-0 record on Friday and Saturday at the Florida Get Down Holiday Basketball Showcase organized by former Gator Dan Cross.

The Hawthorne girls (8-1) went 4-0 at the Hitchcock’s Challenge and defeated P.K. Yonge last Thursday in the championship game. The Lady Blue Wave finished 3-1 to move to 6-4 on the season.

P.K. Yonge's Eli Harris pass

Meanwhile, the P.K. Yonge boys, who played four games at the Jim Haley Christmas Classic, went 2-0 this past weekend at the Dan Cross tournament. The Blue Wave (7-6) defeated Carrollwood Day (Tampa) on Friday and Strawberry Crest (Dover) on Saturday.

The Gainesville boys also moved above .500 thanks to last week’s 2-1 record at the Mosley Holiday Hoopfest in Panama City Beach. The Hurricanes (7-6) had wins against Edgewater (Orlando) and host Mosley.

The Rock girls basketball team got a monster game from freshman Jayden Terry (18 points, 18 rebounds vs. Hillsborough) to help the Lady Lions finish 2-1 at the Tampa Christmas Invitational, where she averaged a double-double. 

Senior Tanner Bost had a career-high 29 points, along with six steals, six rebounds, and five assists against South Fort Myers to help make it a memorable trip.

Despite the fact that school was out, there were a minimum of 10 holiday tournaments last week involving area teams.

Now it’s back to the regular season, which ends later this month for girls and in five weeks for the boys.

District tournament and regional play begin in February, so expect things to start heating up in January.

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