Francis Marion hosts best in West

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 21, 2007


MARION &045; Football is wrapping up and basketball season is quickly gearing up for high schools around the region. For some of the top basketball programs in the area, nothing makes this fact more apparent than the Francis Marion Thanksgiving Day Tournament, which begins today and runs through Saturday.

Woodie Jackson, the head basketball coach at Francis Marion High School and organizer of the tournament, said the event has become a tradition &045; starting in 1997 and relocating to the current facility in 2000. He said no matter where the tournament has been hosted it has always drawn some of the top programs from the region.

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This year, Jackson said the eight teams participating are host Francis Marion, Greensboro, Sunshine, Demopolis, Southside, Wilcox, Clark County and Greene County. Demopolis High School head coach, Jesse Bell, said the tournament has a lot of draws for area programs wanting to gauge their team prior to the start of their regular schedules.

Playing in the tournament is going to give us a great benefit going into area play,&8221; said Bell. &8220;It will give us added playing time as a team, and the kids will have someone to play besides themselves.&8221;

Jackson said groups playing get to test their off-season adjustments in one of the most talented pools in the state.

Bell said the tournament is definitely a gut check for teams.