E.A. Sports Today

2 places at once

‘History-making event’ forces organizers to play Calhoun County Tournament at two venues Friday to crown a champion on Monday

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

OXFORD — A “history-making event” calls for a history-making decision and organizers of the Calhoun County Basketball Tournament have made the call to use two venues Friday night to get the tournament back on track for a Monday championship.

Wintry weather has wreaked havoc on the tournament schedule, forcing the event to shut down for three days, now that Thursday’s round also has been postponed.

In a nutshell, the games that were supposed to be played Tuesday and moved to Wednesday will be played at Oxford High School. All the games that were supposed to be played Thursday will go to Jacksonville State.

The semifinals are scheduled for Saturday at JSU with the championship games scheduled for Monday night.

“This is a history-making event for the county tournament,” Oxford High School athletics director and tournament host Larry Davidson said. “We’ve had delays before, but never had two; we’ve played the championship on Monday before. This is the only option we have.

“We’ve got to get eight games played before Saturday for the interest of the tournament … That’s the only way to make it happen.”

Friday at Oxford High School
Boys Games
No. 5 Anniston vs. No. 4 Jacksonville, 5:30 p.m.
No. 1 Sacred Heart vs. No. 9 Weaver, 8:30 p.m.

Girls Games
No. 4 Piedmont vs. No. 5 Alexandria, 4 p.m.
No. 1 Anniston vs. No. 8 Weaver, 7 p.m.

Friday at Jacksonville State
Boys Games
No. 3 Alexandria vs. No. 6 Saks, 4 p.m.
No. 7 Piedmont vs. No. 2 Oxford, 7 p.m.

Girls Games
No. 3 Oxford vs. No. 6 Wellborn, 5:30 p.m.
No. 2 Jacksonville vs. No. 7 Pleasant Valley, 8:30 p.m.

Organizers didn’t want to make an eight-game day — like Saturday’s opening round — in the interest of not losing time out of school. AHSAA rules will not allow games to be played Sunday and Davidson said they don’t want to play the county tournament semifinals on Sunday if they could get it approved.

“The No. 1 thing is the safety of the kids,” Davidson said. “We want to do what’s right by everybody and the kids deserve to have a county champion by Monday.”

“They’re doing what they have to do,” Pleasant Valley girls coach Brad Hood said. “I don’t think there’s anything else they can do.”

This will be the second time the tournament will make use of the Oxford Sports Arena this week. The opening round was played there Saturday as JSU’s arena wasn’t available to it. Weaver’s boys and girls both won there and will be returning to play their next game against top-seeded opponents.

“We played on Saturday at Oxford and now on Friday we have to play there; the teams that get to play at JSU played there Monday,” Weaver girls coach Gary Atchley said. “Everybody should get a chance to play at JSU. Not that Oxford isn’t nice, but my seniors may never play at JSU again.”

Tournament officials realize the Friday plan may create some hardships with some fans having two teams at two venues (Alexandria at the same times, Jacksonville, Piedmont), but Davidson said all the administrators he contacted have “been great” in their support of the plan.

The coaches just want to play. Eight of the teams have yet to play a tournament game. Alexandria’s boys haven’t played since beating Douglas last Tuesday, top-seeded Sacred Heart’s boys longer than that.

“We are ready to play,” Sacred Heart boys coach Ralph Graves said. “It doesn’t matter to us where and when, our boys want to play. We haven’t played in two weeks because of weather. If doubling up and playing at two sites is best for the tournament, let’s do it.”

“I’m in favor of whatever is going to get the tournament going,” Anniston boys coach Torry Brown said. “I would love possibly doing two days in one day.”

Traditionally teams that have been eliminated from the tournament can not play during the rest of the tournament week, but those who have games scheduled Monday will be allowed to play, Davidson said.

“I’ve been a part of the military most of my life,” Weaver coach Daryl Hamby said. “Life can change in the blink of an eye. No reason to whine. It’s no one’s fault. All we want to do is play basketball.”

Cover photo from Monday’s Calhoun County Tournament action at Jacksonville State by B.J. Franklin/GungHo Photos

You must be logged in to post a comment Login