BY ANDREAS BUTLER
While residents are enjoying the holidays, local boys and girls high school basketball teams will be hitting the hardwood.
Atlantic High School in Port Orange will host two consecutive holiday tournaments – the Execute to Impact Holiday Tournament from Dec. 21-22 and the Sunshine Classic Holiday Tournament Dec. 27-30.
These tournaments will include boys and girls squads and could be good for local teams.
“These tournaments definitely keep us playing and on site, especially when you’re currently playing on the road like us. We want to play as much as possible. We’ll get a total of five games out of these two tournaments,” said David Howard Sr., Atlantic’s boys coach.
Four local teams
The Sharks are the hottest boys team locally, having jumped out to a 9-1 start heading into the Execute to Impact tournament.
“We want to keep our momentum going during these tournaments. We’ve won the Sunshine Classic three straight years. It’s been good for our program. These can also get you battle-tested for district tournaments and the playoffs,” added Howard.
The Execute to Impact Holiday Tournament will feature four local boys basketball teams – the Sharks, Mainland Buccaneers, New Smyrna Beach Barracudas and the University Titans.
The tournament will include Olympia, Cocoa, Leesburg, Crescent City and others.
On the girls side, local teams include local teams Atlantic and New Smyrna along with traditional state powerhouses Cocoa and Leesburg.
The tournament is being put on by legendary coach local Roy Lee, who is an assistant coach at New Smyrna for the girls program and former boys head coach at the school.
The Sunshine Classic will include Atlantic’s boys and girls against teams from around the state and country as well as Canada, Puerto Rico and the Bahamas. The tournament will be played at both Atlantic High and Warner Christian Academy in South Daytona.
Holiday tournaments also could provide some of the best talent in high school basketball from across the nation.
“You just don’t know who you will face. A lot of times these teams have Division I college prospects and some programs are national or state powerhouses. There are some quality teams. In the past, we have played teams from Kentucky, Georgia, Tennessee, the Carolinas and more,” said Howard.
Arthur Brooks, coach for Mainland Head’s girls, echoed, “These tournaments are really important. They can make or break your season. A lot of players aren’t as focused during the holidays, but your ultimate goal is to come together and play as a team while getting better.
“I like these tournaments because you just don’t know who you are going to face. It’s like starting from the beginning. You really have to adjust as a coach, player and team.”
Mainland girls will play in the Father Lopez Holiday Invitational at Lopez in Daytona Beach from Dec. 27 through 29.
It will feature local teams in Lopez (9-2), Mainland (7-2), Flagler Palm Coast and University.
On the boys side, Father Lopez and Seabreeze are the local teams.
The Lopez tournament also will have teams from Kentucky, New York and Florida in both the boys and girls brackets.
Tourney in DeLand
DeLand High’s boys team began its tournament on Tuesday and it will run through Dec. 22.
Joining the Bulldogs will be local teams in Pine Ridge, Calvary Christian and Deltona Trinity Christian.
It will also feature perennial state title contenders Orlando Dr. Phillips and Orlando Evans.
“We have some good local teams as well as some teams that are traditional state championship contenders so it should be competitive and fun for everyone,” said Sebastian Singletary, DeLand’s head coach.
For more on holiday tournament schedules, check school websites and maxpreps.com.