BONIFAY, Fla. (WMBB) — The longest-running high school basketball Christmas tournament in Florida has returned to Holmes County.
“If it’s not the Rodeo in October, then it’s definitely the Christmas tournament in December,” Holmes County head coach Stephen Andrews said.
16 teams (JV and Varsity) from the four high schools in the county (Bethlehem, Poplar Springs, Holmes County, and Ponce De Leon) hit the court Thursday for ultimate bragging rights.
“It’s a big deal to everybody,” Poplar Springs girls head coach Kaitlyn Carroll said. “It’s kind of bragging rights throughout the year. It’s just something we want to get together and have fun doing, but it’s always nice to win it at the end.”
The Christmas tournament rotates each year, with Holmes County hosting this year.
In addition to the tournament providing constant rivalry matchups, this year the stakes are even higher. Three of the boys teams are ranked in the top ten of the state. Two of the girls teams are in the top ten, including the back-to-back state champs.
“I think it helps us, especially with straight the schedule,” Carroll said. “Now we don’t have to travel very far to boost our ratings. We can stay right here in the county and that helps out.”
While the annual tournament falls in the early portion of the regular season, the turnout always resembles a playoff atmosphere.
The Holmes County Christmas classic began Thursday with the girls, continues Saturday with the boys, and will wrap up with the Championship matchups for both on Saturday.