Area basketball fans will once again get the opportunity to see all eight Columbia County public school basketball teams play in one place to begin the season.
The annual Turkey Tip-Off Tournament will take place at Harlem High School on Monday and Tuesday, with boys' and girls' teams from Greenbrier, Lakeside and Evans participating. The tournament will mark the beginning of the regular season for six of the eight teams.
"It's a good test to see how we measure up in the county," Lakeside girls basketball coach Moe McCormack said.
The annual competition used to be scheduled as a Christmas tournament. After fan attendance dropped because of the holidays, the coaches got together and made a change.
"We were doing it over Christmas break, and fans were traveling and attendance was down," Evans boys' basketball coach Kevin Kenny said. "Plus, we play each other three or four times a year and by that time in the season there just wasn't as much interest.
"We moved it to Thanksgiving, and it's the first games of the year. That's when everyone's getting excited about basketball."
Evans won the tournament last season on the boys' side, and Greenbrier took the girls' title. The two defending champs are favored to win again this season.
While Greenbrier, Evans and Lakeside are once again playing in the same region, none of this week's games will count toward the region standings.
Instead, the tournament will offer a chance for local coaches to assess most of the competition in Region 3B-AAAA.
"I can already tell it's going to be tough enough on our side," Greenbrier boys' coach Casey Dees said. "This is one of those regions that you can't take a night off."
The Turkey Tip-Off Tournament will begin Monday at 3:30 p.m. with Evans' girls facing Greenbrier.
The Columbia County News-Times ©2013. All Rights Reserved.