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Southern hoops hosts tourney

It might be Southern Academy’s own tournament. But, unfortunately for the Cougars, it won’t mean Southern will be the favorite.

The annual Southern Academy Christmas Tournament tips off Friday night, featuring four schools competing in both varsity boys and varsity girls action: host Southern, Warrior Acad., Pickens Acad., and Marengo Acad. Four games–two boys’, two girls’–will be held Friday beginning at 4:45. Four more matching the winners and losers from Friday’s match-ups will tip off Saturday beginning at 2:00, with the second game scheduled to follow an hour and 15 minutes later and so on.

Those in attendance will have the chance to see some of the best basketball the AISA has to offer. Warrior Acad.’s boys team, led by Trenedy Bolden and JaMichael Rivers, has yet to lose in the 2005 season and may compete for the AISA Class A title.

The same could be said for the Lady Braves as well. Behind junior scorer Keshara Moore and senior Tricia Langham, the Warrior girls also enter the Southern tournament undefeated.

The Marengo boys are on a roll as well. After putting together fourth-quarter comebacks against both Clarke Prep and Jackson Acad. in the past week, the Longhorns are sitting pretty at 7-1 on the year. Senior center Josh Dunn has provided rebounding inside while seniors Trey Rowell and Randy Martin have shot the ball with accuracy.

Factor in a Class AA program like Pickens and Southern’s previous results–the Cougar boys and girls teams each lost twice to Marengo the week of Nov. 28–and the home teams will enter as a decided underdogs. But between the financial benefit and the experience from facing top-notch competition, that doesn’t mean Southern first-year boys coach Eric Chandler isn’t looking forward to the tournament.

“It’s a good chance to let our kids play against some really good teams,” he says. “It’s an opportunity to see what we need to work on before we get into area play.”