• 59°

Dallas County Schools Basketball Tournament up for grabs

The Dallas County Schools Basketball Christmas Tournament tweaked its format for this year.

The tournament starts Thursday and concludes with the finals on Saturday at Wallace Community College-Selma.

Keith High is the defending Boys’ champion, while Selma High won the girls crown last year.

Arayvion Jones of Keith and Selma’s Rodericka Parker, last year’s Tournament MVPs, are back for their senior seasons and ready to win another tournament crown.

Bears coach Clifton Reeves expects a wide-open tournament.

“I think it’s going to be a very competitive tournament,” Reeves said. “All of the teams are playing well this year. Each game is a rivalry game. You have to make sure you have your team focused and ready to play.”

The tournament starts Thursday when Southside girls face Ellwood Christian Academy at 2 p.m. Keith faces Wilcox Central at 5:30 p.m.

On the boys’ side, Southside faces ECA at 3:30 p.m. and Selma High faces Wilcox at 7:30 p.m. Daron Rembert is the Saints’ first-year coach.

Friday, the Selma High girls will face the Southside-ECA winner at 4 p.m. Second seeded Dallas County meets the Keith-Wilcox winner at 7 p.m.

In the boys’ bracket, Top-seeded Keith will face the Southside-ECA winner at 5:30 p.m. Second seed Dallas County will face the Selma-Wilcox Central winner at 8:30 p.m.

The girls’ finals will be held at 4 p.m. Saturday, followed by the boys’ title game at 5:30 p.m.

Most of the Dallas County teams have already faced each other this season.

Keith beat Selma and Southside, but lost to Dallas County.

The Panthers have lost to Selma, Dallas County and Keith, but beat ECA. The Hornets lost to Selma, but beat Southside.

“It should be a good one,” Hornets coach Cliff Nix said. “All of the teams are competitive and playing well  into mid-season form. It’s some good basketball going on in the Black Belt and surrounding area.”

Darrell Walker said he’s looking forward to his first game in the tournament as Southside’s basketball coach and Athletic Director.

“Great basketball going into area play in January,” Walker said.

“A lot of talent is in the tournament. It should be the best tournament in the state during the holidays.”

Selma High coach Daron Rembert said the holiday tournament brings out the best  in Dallas County teams.

“The tournament is always exciting for us because it’s a clash of the local teams competing in a highly competitive tournament,” Rembert said. “It’s great for our fans and the spectators look forward to coming out and watch good high school basketball. We are making our preparations accordingly as we want to put our best basketball on display because it’s the exact expectation what our opponents are planning to do.”

The top-seeded Lady Saints are considered a favorite to defend their tournament title.

First-year Selma High girls coach Will Morgan sees the tournament painting a bigger picture for the Lady Saints going forward.

“The Dallas County Tournament gives us a great opportunity to continue to grow as a team,” Morgan said.

“It provides excitement for the holidays. Playing against other teams in Dallas County is great for the community.”

Southside girls basketball coach Rand Smith also sees the holiday tournament as an opportunity for growth.

“We are looking forward to another opportunity to improve as a team,” Smith said. “We have improved since the first practice, but we still have a long way to go. This is a great chance to continue building our team, compete against local teams and start Christmas break.”