The Warren-Youngstown Holiday Classic is back for a second year.
By JOE SCALZO
VINDICATOR SPORTS STAFF
YOUNGSTOWN -- Rayen High girls basketball players Brittany Taylor and Tieara Jones have played in big arenas before during the AAU basketball season. But they've never done it in front of their friends and family.
In December, they'll get their chance.
"Lights, camera, action," said Jones.
The Tigers will play one of three girls basketball games in the Youngstown-Warren Holiday Basketball Classic, which will be held Dec. 9 at the Chevrolet Centre. Last year's inaugural tournament was limited to boys varsity and junior high teams.
"We watched it last year and we were hoping we could play," said Taylor, a junior. "I'm very excited for this."
The tournament will have seven games, beginning at 8:30 a.m. with a girls basketball game between Struthers and Wilson. The games will continue all day, leading up to an 8 p.m. boys game between Warren Harding and Farrell.
"We have sort of a luxury," said Harding coach Steve Arnold, whose team defeated Wilson 58-24 in last year's tournament. "We're the finale, so we're sort of in the featured game. We're very excited about that and we're excited to be playing a team like Farrell."
Other girls games will be Rayen-Brookfield (10:15 a.m.) and Chaney-Campbell (noon). Other boys games will be Warren JFK-Wilson (2 p.m.), Mooney-Chaney (4 p.m.) and Rayen-Ursuline (6 p.m.).
Tickets are 6 for adults and 4 for students. Last year's tournament drew good crowds, especially for the afternoon and evening games, which created a good atmosphere for the players.
"It was a great experience," said Arnold, "and we got a win, which always puts a smile on a coach's face."
Ursuline senior D'Aundray Brown, whose team won a district title last year, scored 18 points to help lead the Irish to an 82-60 victory over Chaney in last year's Classic.
"It was great," said Brown. "It was a nice floor and it was a different venue and the whole city got to see us play."
The convention center purchased a used basketball floor from Wright State University prior to last year's event. The floor has been finished and repainted for this season.
Due to the high rental fees for the Chevrolet Centre, six area sponsors helped reduce the cost. The event's primary sponsors are Sky Bank; Choffin Career Center; Harrington, Hoppe & amp; Mitchell Ltd.; Hill, Barth & amp; King; the Lariccia family; and Marucci & amp; Gaffney Excavating. Last year's event netted 10,500, which was split between the schools.
"Most high school basketball players never get a chance to play in a 5,900-seat arena, but we're glad that even more local teams will get a chance this year," said Chevy Centre GM Matt Hufnagel.