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Local teams all ‘wrapped’ up with stuffed Christmas slate

Local teams all ‘wrapped’ up with stuffed Christmas slate
 By KENNETH COKER Messenger Sports Reporter It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas. And it’s not because of Santa Claus’ arrival or the numerous nativity scenes around the area. No, the holiday basketball slate is a sure sign that the jolly day is quickly approaching. In all, five of the six high school basketball teams in Obion County will take part in the festivities after Christmas as they attempt to keep their skills sharp or improve upon mistakes. For starters, three local squads will be in action at the 44th annual Martin Lions’ Club Christmas Tournament at Westview. The Union City girls will be joined by both South Fulton squads in that event. The Lady Twisters (9-4) first play in the event on Saturday afternoon at 4 against Perry County. UC girls’ coach Jeff Chandler sees this tournament setting — where every entry will play three games — as his squad’s final opportunity to tune up before they dive head first into more District 14A play. “Considering that we’ve had to play seven or eight games since we lost Brittney Mitchell, this is our last chance to find a comfort level with our personnel,” Chandler said. “Even since Brittney’s injury, we’ve had a couple players that decided to quit, so we have to make the most of this chance to experiment and solidify this bunch as a team.” After the break, the Lady Twisters have zero games against non-district opponents. The SF girls (1-7) will also compete at the Martin event with the girls playing first on Saturday morning at 10 vs. Madison Academic. “It’s important for any team, regardless of their record or skill to keep sharp throughout the Christmas layoff,” Devilettes’ coach Curt Lee said. “We’d much rather play than practice because actual game situations are irreplaceable.” The Red Devils (2-6) are also slated to see action in Martin as they play the host Westview at 8:30 Saturday evening. “We haven’t been picking it up and we’ve got to get stronger legs and have a little more wind in us,” SF boys’ coach Keith Frazier said. “It is key for us to stay in the gym and find a combination of players that can keep us competitive through the next two months. “And the best way to do that is with actual games.” After Christmas, South Fulton has just two non-district twinbills scheduled. In Troy, the Obion Central boys will load up the bus and travel to the Graves County (Ky.) Classic, where they will hit the court four times. On Saturday, the Rebels (7-3) take on the hosts at 12:30 p.m. and they play again against Stone Memorial at 6 that evening. Then, on Monday, OC is scheduled to take on Heath at 6. The results from the three pool play games will dictate which teams play for the championship, third place, fifth spot and seventh position. “We’ve got to keep playing to get better,” Rebels’ mentor Bill Kail said. “We can’t take two or three weeks off and expect to be able to dive right into the thick part of our district schedule.” After Christmas, the Rebels have just three non-district games. Finally, Union City’s boys will be traveling to Calloway County (Ky.) for the Murray Bank Holiday Classic. The Twisters (7-4) will open up play against Hopkinsville on Saturday at 2 p.m. and, regardless of the outcome, they will play on both Monday and Tuesday. “It’s good to play different teams at this time of the year and work on what we might not be doing very well,” UC boys’ coach Shane Sisco said. “We definitely want to win every game we play, but these games give us an opportunity to experiment that we wouldn’t have against our district schedule.” The UC boys will play one non-district game after the break with a boys’ only game against Dyer County. Sports reporter Kenneth Coker can be contacted by e-mail at kcoker@ucmessenger.com. Published in The Messenger 12.24.08

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