When the Augusta Prep coaching staffs put together the field for the annual Garden City Classic basketball tournament, there was no thought of ensuring the host team does well.
Instead, they try to bring in competitive squads that will make the team better.
“We always try to make the Garden City Classic a high-level, competitive tournament,” boys head coach Mike Guthrie said.
“We don’t set up the tournament so we can win, but to give us three good games to help us win region in January.”
This year’s event runs Thursday through Saturday, with games being held concurrently in two gymnasiums inside the Boardman Athletic Center.
It features eight boys teams and eight girls teams, with a mix of local high school squads and those from out of town.
Last year, Thomas Sumter’s boys defeated the Augusta Eagles to take the boys title, while Curtis Baptist’s girls topped Augusta Christian in the championship game.
Augusta Prep Athletic Director Tom Holodak said the event is a way to show off the school’s facilities.
He said the event offers coaches a chance to learn a lot about their team in a single weekend, with three games in the span of three days.
“It’s just a great atmosphere,” he said. “Coaches can spread playing time around and look at some different things they’re going to want to use later in the season.”
Another neat thing Holodak has seen is the camaraderie between coaches of different teams. He said it extends to the officials, as well.
“In the hospitality room, they just like to sit back and talk basketball,” Holodak said. “Officials and coaches will just sit in there and shoot the breeze.”
Play opens Thursday, with girls games at 4 and 7 p.m. and boys games at 5:30 and 8:30 p.m.
The event concludes Saturday with the girls championship at 3 p.m., followed by the boys championship at 4 p.m.