Andalusia, Straughn gear up for tourney

Published 12:00 am Thursday, December 6, 2012

Basketball fans, get ready. There’s an abundance of hardwood action hitting the courts starting today, with Andalusia and Straughn kicking off their annual Christmas tournaments.

Andalusia’s 46th annual invitational tournament will feature seven teams from five schools, while Straughn’s will consist of seven teams.

Originally, eight teams were on the books to play in the AHS tourney, but three pulled out due to football playoffs and other reasons, head coach Richard Robertson said.

The schools competing in the tournament are Andalusia, Opp, Elba, Luverne and Enterprise. The highest classification represented is Class 6A.

Action will start tonight at 5:30 between Andalusia’s girls and Opp’s girls. This will be the only girls game of the tournament.

Afterward, Opp’s boys will face Elba at 7 p.m. for the night cap.

On Friday night, Luverne will face Enterprise at 6 and Andalusia will face the winner of Opp-Elba in the night cap at 7:30.

“The thing about these teams dropping out is that it pushed Enterprise and Luverne, who are the favorites, it put them going against each other first,” Robertson said. “Which means one of them will be eliminated.”

The consolation round will be at 6 p.m. on Saturday, followed by the tournament championship at 7:30.

Right now, Andalusia is starving for some form of leadership, Robertson said.

“We’re inexperienced and we’re young,” he said. “We’ve got eight seniors out of our 26 guys.

“I wanted to give six (teams) equal opportunity,” he said. “The thing about it is that every team here might be better than we are.”

Each team, other than the girls, is guaranteed to play two games.

Straughn’s tourney is comprised of teams classifications ranging from Class 1A-3A. Florala, Kinston, Red Level, Pleasant Home and Georgiana are the 1A teams competing in the tournament. New Brockton is the Class 2A team, and the host, SHS, is the 3A team.

“I know Red Level is going to be strong and so is Georgiana,” coach Rusty ­Andrews said. “I know Pleasant Home’s young, but they’re always good because of coach (Jerry) Davis.

“Florala, coach (Daniel) Allison is doing a very good job with them,” he said. “They’re going to be a team to be reckoned with.”

Straughn starts out with Kinston at 7:30 tonight. New Brockton and Red Level will face each other at 4:30 p.m. today to start the tournament, and Pleasant Home faces Georgiana afterward at 6 for the second game today.

“All around, the tournament should be a good tournament to come and watch,” Andrews said. “There should be some good, competitive games.”

Unlike most teams this season, SHS hasn’t played a game yet because of the football team’s recent success, finishing in the semifinals last week.

“We’re behind because of football, but we’re proud of our football team,” Andrews said. “We wish they could’ve gone all the way. We’re ready to go. We’re going to have to play to get our practice in.”

Andrews said the players are eager to hit the court after almost two months of practicing.

“We brought the football (players who play basketball) and they came in and had one of our best practices (Monday),” he said. “We’re looking forward to the season, and we feel like we’ll be as good as last year, if not better.”

The tournament also has a loser’s bracket, which starts tomorrow at 4:30 p.m. between the losers of Kinston-Straughn and Pleasant Home-Georgiana.

Florala has a bye in the first round and will face the winner of Straughn-Kinston at 7:30 p.m. tomorrow. The other semifinal game is at 6 tomorrow night.

The championship is slated for 4 p.m. on Saturday.