Local teams close first half with Christmas Tournament action

Thursday, December 27, 2018

JASON PEEVYHOUSE

jpeevyhouse@stategazette.com

With the Christmas holiday now in the rear-view mirror for the local high school basketball teams at Dyersburg and Dyer County, the four teams at the two schools still have some games left before the second half of the season starts next week with post-Christmas tournament action in three locations beginning today.

Locally, the Dyersburg Lady Trojans will be at home for the final dates of the 2018 portion of the regular season on their schedule as the black and gold girls will host the Dot Foods Christmas Classic on Friday and Saturday in the Terry Glover Gymnasium.

“We’re really just trying to set up a tournament,” Dyersburg head coach Joel Ayers said of the two-day classic. “It’s really hard at times to get teams in the tournament and we’ve got a good field so we’re trying to build it up for next year.”

Ayers also talked about the new title sponsor for the event, Dot Foods.

“To get Dot Foods on board and to advertise them to the general public on how well they help us,” Ayers said. “In basketball, they are really helping us out and we’re wanting to promote them along with our Christmas Tournament. But, they help our school a tremendous amount so we want to give them the recognition and we hope that this is a partnership that we can move forward and grow the tournament and the publicity of Dot Foods. Because Dot Foods is not just a Dyersburg facility. We are so pleased that they came on board.”

The two-day schedule begins on Thursday afternoon at 1 p.m. as the Dyersburg High School junior varsity team takes on Ridgeway. Ridgeway’s varsity will then take the court at 2:30 p.m. as they take on Jackson South Side. Horn Lake (Miss.) will take on Lausanne in the third game of the day at 4 p.m. with Union City and Munford rounding out the action at 5:30 p.m.

On Saturday, the Dyersburg Middle School girls team will open the second day of action by taking on Riverside Middle at noon. Riverside High School will take on Union City in the second game at 1:30 p.m. The Dyersburg Lady Trojan varsity will play its only game of the event next at 3 p.m. when they take on Horn Lake. Munford and Lausanne round out the Classic at 4:30 p.m.

“We’re getting our JV kids work one day then our high school kids – varsity-wise then next day,” Ayers said. “Our middle school will play on the second day. Then there are going to be a lot of good teams in competitive ball games. We’re looking forward to it. There’s going to be a lot of good basketball for a couple days in the gym.”

On Thursday, both Dyer County teams will be in action and not too far from home as the Choctaws and Lady Choctaws travel down the road to Milan to take part in the Milan Rebounders Club Christmas Tournament.

Orange and white fans might want to get up a little extra early this morning, though, as the Lady Choctaws will open the tournament around breakfast time as they tip off the tournament against Bradford at 8:45 a.m.

“We’ve just got to take it game by game without two of our top scorers and players,” Dyer County head coach Derek McCord said. “What Alexis Akins means to this team and what Zoie Springer means to this team, we’ve just got to patch it together and get people to assume new roles. It’s a chance for other players to shine and just hope for the best. Every game is going to be a difficult task for us.”

McCord added the players on the Dyer County roster will need to step up to make up for what the team is missing without senior Akins and sophomore Springer in the lineup.

“It’s going to be tough,” McCord said of the girls bracket which begins today. “We got a really tough draw with USJ being on our side of the bracket.”

The Dyer County boys will also be in action this morning as the Choctaws will open their journey through the bracket at 10:30 a.m. when they take on the University School of Jackson.

“It was a hard-fought battle here when we played them earlier this season,” McCord said of the matchup with the Bruins. “They’re going to give us their best shot and Coach Hamilton Hudson has done a good job with them. They’re going to sag back in that matchup zone and you’ve got to make some shots to meet them.”

McCord added the Bruins will look to slow the game down and try to grind out the win.

“It’s a tough first-round matchup for us,” McCord said.

The team making the longest trip of the week will be the Dyersburg Trojan boys who head down to Glen, Miss. for the Peggy Bain Holiday Hoops Tournament at Alcorn Central High School and Alcorn Central Middle School today and Friday.

Dyersburg will be in action at 11 a.m. today as the Trojans take on Kossuth in the opening game of the day at ACMS.

After having some time off to rest and spend time with their families for the Christmas holiday, Dyersburg head coach Blaine Mahaffey talked about what the Trojans can do to help themselves moving forward with the two-day tournament.

“Continue to put ourselves in position to win ballgames,” Mahaffey said. “It’s a change of environment and a change of setting. These guys have never been in that area. Anytime you can put something in front of them that’s different and challenge them, it’s good for people. Change is inevitable and the more willing you are to change and respond to certain things then the better you’re going to be in the long run.”

With a win this morning, the Trojans will play again at 6:30 p.m. on Friday. A loss will see the Trojans playing at 11 a.m. on the second day of the tournament.

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