Local teams to see how they stack up at tournament

Published 3:14 pm Saturday, May 28, 2016

Wednesday’s Selma Summer Slam boys basketball tournament will give local coaches a first look at their teams for the upcoming year.

It’ll also give them a chance to see how young players will handle expanded roles. Southside High School lost its entire starting five to graduation, so head coach Cedric Brown is looking to the tournament as a chance to rebuild his starting lineup.

He asked tournament organizer Tommy Tisdale to put Southside on the schedule against some of the bigger schools in the field.

“It’s definitely important to throw them in the fire early and see if we can learn something about ourselves,” Brown said.

Brown is getting his wish.

The Panthers are matched up against 7A Prattville, the eighth largest school in the state under the Alabama High School Athletic Association’s classification for 2016-2018. Southside is also slated to play Leflore, a 6A school, and Midfield, which is 3A.

“We’ve been working on a couple of things… and the main thing is seeing if we can do it against somebody else,” Brown said. “That’s really the main thing, how well we play together and whether we will quit or not.”

Ellwood Christian will also have a chance to test itself against some of the largest schools in the state.

The Eagles will take on 6A schools in Brookwood and Park Crossing during the tournament.

“People always take about 6As versus 1As, but we just want to play ball for the summer and have something for our kids to look forward to coming back in the fall,” said Ellwood Christian coach Darrell Walker.

Walker said the tournament gives his team a chance to prepare for the playoffs next spring because they’ll be seeing teams they don’t schedule on a regular basis. Because of that, the he’s planning to make adjustments on the fly.

“When it comes tournament time, and [we face] teams we’re not too familiar with, we will be able to play those teams up to their level,” Walker said.

Ellwood Christian will also play Greene County in the tournament.

The tournament includes 22 teams — up two from last week’s tentative final schedule.

The local teams participating include Keith and Selma, who are serving as co-hosts. The Bears will take the court for the first time since losing to Sacred Heart in the class 1A state semifinal in Birmingham in February. Keith will play Greene County, Clarke County, Robert E. Lee and Hillcrest-Tuscaloosa.

Selma will face Park Crossing, Hale County and Elmore County.

Admission to attend the tournament is $2.