Tifton Gazette

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December 26, 2012

McDonald’s tournament starts today

TIFTON — Featuring some of the top teams in the Southeast, the third annual McDonald’s Invitational Classic will begin today at the Tift County High Arena.

The event will be hosted by the Tift County Blue Devils and Lady Devils basketball teams, but will also feature several other teams throughout the state, as well as schools from Florida and Tennessee.

The Blue Devils will not play today, but the 6-3 Lady Devils will play against neighboring Cook High.

That game will close out the first day of action that will begin at 11:30 a.m. with the Cook High boys facing the Toombs County boys. That game will feature Cook Head Coach. and former Tift County Head Coach, Tommy Blackshear coaching against one of his former Tift County players, Toombs County Head Coach Keary Brownlee.

The remainder of today’s games will feature Northside-Warner Robins against Pearl Cohn (Tenn.), West Orange (Fla.) against South Cobb, Johnson (Savannah) against Archer, the Crisp County girls against Valdosta and Valdosta against Mill Creek.

Friday’s games will begin at 11 a.m. with three boys tilts. Pearl Cohn will face off against Toombs County,  Cook against Randolph-Clay and Northside against South Cobb. After the Valdosta girls take on the Savannah girls, four more boys games will close out play Friday.

Those contests will feature West Orange against Savannah, Johnson against Marist, Archer against Valdosta and in the final game of the day, the homestanding Tift County Blue Devils will face the Mill Creek Hawks.

“They are a strong team out of Region 7-AAAAAA,” said Tift County Head Coach Dr. Eric Holland  of the Hawks.

The Blue Devils ranked No. 1 in the latest state Class AAAAAA rankings, according the MaxPreps.com poll, will play perhaps the highlight game of the Classic Saturday.

Tift will close out with an old rival, the Savannah High Blue Jackets. The Blue Devils and the Blue Jackets have had several memorable games, including the 2011 state quarterfinals where the Blue Devils emerged with a 70-56 victory.

This year, Savannah is in Class AAA and are currently ranked No. 1 in that classification.

Games Saturday will begin at 10 a.m. Saturday with Pearl Cohn facing off against Cook. Other games Saturday will feature West Orange against Mill Creek, Northside against Toombs, South Cobb against Randolph-Clay, Archer against Marist and Valdosta against Johnson.

The only girls game Saturday will pit the Tift County Lady Devils against the Lady Blue Jackets of Savannah.

“I don’t know much about them, but Savannah teams usually have a lot of great athletes,” said Lady Devils Head Coach Julie Conner.

Conner, who has been sidelined with an illness this season, will be on the bench for the Lady Devils’ two games during the Classic, but Erick Willis will handle much of the coaching duties.

Admission is $8 per day, but with a receipt from a local McDonald’s, the admission is only $5 per day, a $3 discount.

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