Along with a huge football game Friday night, three other things are on the minds of local sports fans this week — turkey, shopping and basketball.
While tons of turkey will expand waistlines and Black Friday will lighten wallets, all six county high school hoop squads will hit the local hardwood in holiday tournament action beginning tonight.
The MurMaid Mattress Classic has not only moved to the early part of the holiday week, but expanded to a second site, for opening night.
A half dozen teams will gather at “The Stable” this evening, including both host Walker Valley squads and the Bradley Central boys, while seven other teams, including both Cleveland High units, will open play at the traditional host site at the Raider Dome. Wednesday the annual event will go all day long with seven games slated for CHS.
At “The Stable” this evening, Bradley and the Hamilton Heights boys will tip off the action at 5 with a rematch of last Friday’s battle at Jim Smiddy Arena, in which the undefeated international “tall trees” from the Chattanooga private school held off a late charge by the Bears to claim the victory.
The co-host Walker Valley squads will take their home court beginning at 6:30, with a girls and boys doubleheader against Hardin Valley Academy. The Knoxville area squads are coached by former Cleveland assistant coaches Keith and Jennifer Galloway.
Over at the Raider Dome, the Hamilton Heights girls will square off against McMinn County in the 3 p.m. opener, followed the Rossview boys facing the Cherokees at 4:30.
The host Cleveland squads will wrap up the first night with the Lady Raiders taking on Baylor at 6, while the Blue Raiders will face Rossview at 7:30 in the Clarksville-based squad’s second contest of the day.
In non-tournament action this evening, Polk County will play host to Hiwassee Dam, N.C., plus the Lee University ladies will take on Auburn-Montgomery at Walker Arena at 6.
The MurMaid Classic will resume Wednesday morning at the Raider Dome with the marathon tipping off at 10:30 as the Hamilton Heights boys facing McMinn County before the Lady Cherokees and Baylor battle at noon.
Five straight games with local teams in action will follow as both Walker Valley squads will tangle with Hamilton Heights at 1:30 and 3, followed by the Bradley boys taking on Hardin Valley at 4:30. The hosts will once again wrap up the action with the Lady Raiders facing Hardin Valley at 6 and the Raiders tangling with McCallie in the nightcap at 7:30.
After a day to enjoy family and food Thursday, the annual Mountain View Inn Thanksgiving Tournament will tip off Friday and Saturday at Jim Smiddy Arena.
The all-girls’ team event will feature five squads in a round-robin format with action starting at 2 p.m. Friday afternoon as Hamilton Heights will take on Oak Ridge.
The host Bradley Central ladies will take the court at 4:30 Friday against Knoxville Webb, while Hamilton Heights will return to the court at 6 p.m. to face Franklin County.
On Saturday morning, the action will tip off at 10:30 with Knox Webb and Franklin County, followed by Bradley taking on Oak Ridge at noon. The varsity squads will get a break in the middle of the day at the Bradley and Franklin County junior varsity squads play at 1:45.
The event will wrap up with a pair of games Saturday evening as Hamilton heights and Knox Webb play at 5, followed by the Bradley and Franklin County varsity squads at 6:30